Fight fraud: Guard your Medicare card

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

New Medicare cards will be mailed starting in April 2018.
If you have Medicare, you can protect your identity and help prevent health care fraud by guarding your Medicare card just like you would a credit card. 

Identity theft from stolen Medicare numbers is becoming more common.

To help combat fraud, Medicare is removing Social Security Numbers from cards and replacing them with a new, unique number for each person. 

The new cards will be mailed starting in April 2018 and should be fully distributed by April 2019.

In the meantime, here are some important steps you can take to protect yourself from the identity theft that can lead to health care fraud:

  • Don’t share your Medicare number with anyone who contacts you by phone, email or in person, unless you’ve given them permission in advance. Medicare will NEVER contact you (unless you ask us to) for your Medicare number or other personal information.
  • Never let anyone borrow or pay to use your Medicare number.
  • Review your Medicare Summary Notice to be sure you and Medicare are only being charged for actual items and services received.

If you’re looking to enroll in a Medicare plan:
  • Remember there are no “early bird discounts” or “limited time offers.” 
  • Don’t let anyone rush you to enroll by claiming you need to “act now for the best deal.” 
  • Be skeptical of free gifts, free medical services, discount packages or any offer that sounds too good to be true.If someone calls you and asks for your Medicare number or other personal information, hang up and call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). 

Learn more about protecting yourself from identity theft and health care fraud here or contact the SHIBA program at 1-800-562-6900. SHIBA is Washington state's Senior Medicare Patrol, the fraud-fighting unit of the federal program.



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