New Medicare card design intended to protect against fraud, identity theft

Composite image, St. George News

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA — The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services gave the public its first look at the newly designed Medicare card Thursday. The new Medicare card contains a unique, randomly-assigned number that replaces the current Social Security-based number.

CMS will begin mailing the newly designed cards to people with Medicare benefits in April 2018 to meet the statutory deadline for replacing all existing Medicare cards by April 2019.

In addition to Thursday’s announcement, people with Medicare will also be able to see the design of the new Medicare card in the 2018 Medicare & You Handbook. The handbooks are being mailed and will arrive throughout September.

“The goal of the initiative to remove Social Security numbers from Medicare cards is to help prevent fraud, combat identify theft, and safeguard taxpayer dollars,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “We’re very excited to share the new design.”

CMS has assigned all people with Medicare benefits a new, unique Medicare number, which contains a combination of numbers and uppercase letters. People with Medicare will receive a new Medicare card in the mail and will be instructed to safely and securely destroy their current Medicare card and keep their new Medicare number confidential.

Issuance of the new number will not change benefits that people with Medicare receive.

Healthcare providers and people with Medicare will be able to use secure look-up tools that will allow quick access to the new Medicare numbers when needed. There will also be a 21-month transition period where doctors, healthcare providers, and suppliers will be able to use either their current SSN-based Medicare Number or their new, unique Medicare number to ease the transition.

This initiative takes important steps towards protecting the identities of people with Medicare. CMS is also working with healthcare providers to answer their questions and ensure that they have the information they need to make a successful transition to the new Medicare number. For more information, go to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services website.

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3 Comments

  • Blaine September 18, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    Considering how much I’ve paid for this card, and continue to pay, one would think that my Medicare card would be something more than a cheap piece of paper.

  • utahdiablo September 18, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    Why in the hell would Medicare put everyone social securoty numbes plain as day on their current cards?…… Because the Government is that stupid….

    • comments September 18, 2017 at 9:56 pm

      I don’t know if they’ve even changed the cards since the medicare program was started. What was that, the 60s? Those were simpler times, and you didn’t have every lowlife and their mother stealing identities and committing fraud. Man, this country is going down the toilet. Used to be a much more trusting society.

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