This writer has been lamenting for years about the fact that Medicare recipients’ Social Security numbers are included on the face of the card. This is an unnecessary risk posed to Medicare recipients, which are primarily senior citizens, some of our most vulnerable citizens, who are already preyed upon by scammers.

Medicare has recognized the risk and no longer will list Social Security numbers on Medicare cards starting in April of 2018. This writer is very happy about this development!

However, like any major,  (albeit good) change in a large governmental program, rolling it out will be complicated and will take some time. According to Medicare, the cards, which will now have a unique Medicare number for each individual listed on the card, (but the number is not associated with an individual’s Social Security number), will start to be mailed out to recipients in early April. They will not all be mailed out at one time, and residents who live in certain parts of the country will receive their card before others. The cards will be mailed out according to a pre-arranged schedule. The cards will be mailed to individuals to the address that is on file with the Social Security Administration.

Medicare recipients do not need to do anything to get their new card. It will come to you in the mail. You do not need to pay for it, fill out any paperwork, provide any information to anyone over the telephone, or provide your personal information to anyone to receive your card.

And of course, we anticipate that fraudsters will try to use the rollout of the new program to try to scam our seniors. Here are some tips to consider as you await your new card.

  • The card will come to you in the mail. You do not have to fill out any forms, provide any information or pay for it. It is free and will be provided to you at no cost. If someone calls you, or sends you a form in the mail, or tries to get you to give your bank account or other information to pay for the card, it is a scam. Hang up and don’t provide anyone with your bank account information or other personal information.
  • Remember that neither the IRS, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, nor the Social Security Administration will ever call you for your personal information. If someone calls you posing as a representative of a federal agency, hang up.
  • Protect your new card when you receive it. Although it does not include your Social Security number, the individual Medicare number is still your personal information and can be used for medical identity theft.

If you have any questions about your new Medicare card, click here.