Legislation approved by Congress requires the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to remove Social Security numbers from all Medicare cards.
Julie Brookhart with CMS says combatting fraud is a never-ceasing battle.
“We have had scams already with people calling beneficiaries and saying, it costs to get your new Medicare card, you have to pay for it or give me your old card number in order to get your new card. Those are all scams,” Brookhart tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Brookhart, who works out of the CMS Kansas City regional office, says removing the Social Security number should help in the fight against identity theft. It also should reduce medical fraud. The number will be replaced by a randomly generated, unique number.
Replacing the old cards which carried the recipient’s Social Security number isn’t as easy as you might think. The old cards were well-integrated with the complex medical industry, including doctor’s offices and hospitals. It has taken two years just to get to this point.
CMS is going state-by-state. It began mailing cards to Nebraska recipients this week. There are approximately 60 million Medicare beneficiaries nationwide, and around 332,000 in Nebraska.
Once you get your new card, protect it.
“Guard your card as you would a credit card, as you would any health insurance card and also to not give that card number to anybody other than people you trust,” Brookhart says.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]