New, more secure Medicare cards have started arriving for Oklahoma’s 675,000 residents on Medicare. The more secure card will have a new Medicare number that’s unique to each person, instead of the person’s Social Security Number.
“The change to a new Medicare Number will help protect citizens from identity theft and fraud,” Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak said in a news release. “But with these new security measures comes an opportunity for scammers to take advantage of unsuspecting Medicare recipients. We want everyone to be aware.”
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has already spotted several scams involving the new cards. Medicare beneficiaries should know the following:
- Do NOT pay for a new Medicare card. They are free. Never give your Social Security Number, bank account number or cash to anyone who says they need it in order to receive the new Medicare card. Medicare recipients do not need to do anything to get a new card. They are automatically mailed out.
- Do NOT give your Medicare Number to people you don’t know. Some scammers call pretending to be from Medicare, but Medicare—or someone representing Medicare—will never ask for personal information to get a new Medicare card. Only share your Medicare Number with doctors or trusted people in the community who work with Medicare.
- Don’t let anyone trick you into believing your Medicare benefits will be canceled unless you give them your Medicare Number. If someone threatens to cancel your health benefits if you don’t share your Medicare Number, hang up and report the caller to 1-800-MEDICARE.
- Destroy your old Medicare card. Once you get your new Medicare card, destroy your old Medicare card and start using your new one right away. Don’t just throw the old card away—shred it or cut it into small pieces.
Mailing the new Medicare cards to millions of Americans will take time. Cards may arrive at different times for a family member or friend. Recipients may check the status of their new card at Medicare.gov/NewCard.
If you have questions or need help with your new card, call the Oklahoma Insurance Department’s Medicare Assistance Program at 800-763-2828.
Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director
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