The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has begun mailing new cards to Medicare beneficiaries living in Rhode Island and other Northeastern states. The new Medicare cards contain unique, randomly-assigned numbers instead of Social Security numbers to better protect against fraud.
"The new Medicare cards with Social Security numbers removed will help prevent fraud and combat identity theft," said Michelle Szylin, Acting Director at the Rhode Island Division of Elderly Affairs. "We're pleased to learn that Rhode Islanders are starting to receive their new cards and will be protected from scammers who prey upon elders and waste taxpayer dollars."
Each Medicare number 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 impact benefits.
"It's important to remember that Medicare will never call you uninvited and ask you to give personal or private information to get your new Medicare number and card," said Aleatha Dickerson, manager of Rhode Island's Senior Medicare Patrol. "Scam artists may contact you about your new card, asking for money, or threatening to cancel your health benefits if you don't share your personal information. You should hang up and immediately and call us at 462-0931."
Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) is a Division of Elderly Affairs program that empowers and assists Medicare beneficiaries, their families and caregivers to prevent, detect and report health care fraud, errors and abuse through outreach, counseling and education. If you are interested in working with the SMP as a volunteer call 462-0194.