AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - In order to protect against identity theft, all senior citizens on Medicare will soon be issued a new health insurance card.
This new card will now contain an 11-digit alpha-numeric number instead of your social security number.
"This is a big change for Medicare. This will start next month and the roll-out will potentially take a year, so you could receive your card in April of '19. So we are asking seniors not to call Medicare if they don't receive a card, it is coming," said Laurie McAfee, a licensed social worker for Area Agency on Aging of the Panhandle.
However, Area Agency on Aging of the Panhandle does want all seniors to be aware of current scams because they will never cold-call anyone.
"Some organizations or scammers are calling our seniors and telling them we need your old number to release your new card," said McAfee. "We tell seniors to hang up when that happens. Also, if you get a call saying if you will send $199 we will mail you you're new card, and that is a scam."
The Area Agency on Aging of the Panhandle will soon host a free educational seminar for local seniors as they expect this new change will be a learning curve for all.
"Medicare is not an easy thing to navigate. Ask questions, don't listen to street talk. If you have a question about Medicare or Social Security or any of your benefits, go to the right source," said Lisa Hancock the Public Education Program Specialist for Area Agency on Aging.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has a list of 10 things they want you to know about your new Medicare card:
- Mailing takes time.
- Once you get your new Medicare card, destroy your old Medicare card and start using your new card right away.
- Guard your card.
- Your Medicare Number is unique to you.
- Your new card is paper. Paper cards are easier for many providers to use and copy.
- Keep your new card with you.
- Your doctor knows it's coming.
- If you forget your new card, you, your doctor or other health care providers may be able to look up your Medicare Number online.
- Keep you're Medicare Advantage Card
- If you don't get your new Medicare card by April 2019, call 1-800-MEDICARE.