Letter to the Editor: New Medicare cards

If you’re over age 65, there may be an important piece of mail headed to your mailbox. New Medicare cards are on the way to millions of Floridians. The new card will not only look different, but it will also provide you with a new Medicare ID number.

Your new ID is designed to cut down on potential fraud and identity theft. Until recently, Social Security numbers doubled as Medicare ID numbers, opening the door to potential scams. In fact, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimates that $60 million was lost to Medicare fraud and abuse in 2016.

Camilita Aldridge

But new Medicare cards don’t make us immune. Some scammers have been reaching out to seniors, pretending to be Medicare representatives and asking to “verify their information.” Other con artists are calling beneficiaries and asking for payment to “process their cards.” Don’t be fooled.

To help fight scams, remember: Medicare will never call you uninvited, so if someone calls and asks for your Medicare number, don’t provide it. Don’t believe anyone who tells you that you need to pay a fee for your card. The new Medicare cards are free and are being sent to you automatically. And once you get your new Medicare card, destroy your old one.

Finally, don’t be concerned if you don’t receive your card right away. With approximately 4.1 million Medicare beneficiaries in Florida, it may take time to get your card. To make things easier, you can ask Medicare to send you an email when your card is in the mail by signing up for updates at www.Medicare.gov/newcard.

Camilita Aldridge
SHINE liaison
Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida

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