Health Info & Resources for Seniors
As of July of 2018, all Pennsylvania Medicare beneficiaries should have received their new Medicare cards. The new cards should safeguard individuals from a wide range of identity theft-related crimes as the Medicare benefit is no longer associated with an individual’s Social Security number.
Even so, scams surrounding the release of the cards have been reported throughout the state. Therefore, people should guard their Medicare unique IDs. For example, in Franklin County a Medicare beneficiary’s spouse received a call from “Linda from Medicare”, asking whether his wife received her new Medicare card. The consumer correctly responded that he wasn’t aware that Medicare would call anyone and asked for her telephone number. The caller hung up when questioned again.
SMP staff have also received reports about a scam where consumers are told that the new Medicare cards should contain a “chip”. Consumers are then asked for personal information so that a card with a chip can be mailed. This is a scam- the new cards do not contain chips.
So, what can people do if their Unique ID number has been compromised? Another benefit of the new Medicare number is that, unlike a person’s social security number, it can be changed if it is compromised. To do so, beneficiaries should contact Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE, and explain that their card number was compromised. After Medicare verifies the caller’s identity, a new card with a new unique ID will be issued.
All existing Medicare beneficiaries in Pennsylvania should have received their new Medicare cards. If consumers have not received their new cards, they should contact the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213, or 1-800-325-0778 (TTY). Individuals who receive their Medicare benefit through the Railroad Retirement Board should contact 1-800-MEDICARE if the new card has not been received.
Medicare will not make unsolicited calls to beneficiaries to verify personal information, offer a new card, or request information to issue a new card.
If Medicare beneficiaries have given out their new card number to a suspicious caller or someone online, or they have lost their Medicare card, they should call Medicare to request a new card with a new unique identifier.
If you have any questions or believe you have been a target of Medicare fraud, please call the PA-SMP toll-free at 1-800-356-3606. Help is always free and confidential. You can also visit carie.org for more information.