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New Medicare Cards Coming

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced earlier this month that they will be mailing replacement ID cards to Medicare beneficiaries starting next year.

While not directly related to Social Security, this announcement does affect the protection of your Social Security number (SSN).  In the past, your SSN was printed on the front of your Medicare card. If you carry your card on you, your SSN could be compromised if your wallet or purse was ever lost or stolen.   In addition, anytime you presented your card for medical services you were exposing your SSN to prying eyes and others who may use it to steal your identity.

Protecting Your SSN

Because identity theft is such a widespread problem, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is complying with a 2015 law to remedy this situation by removing SSNs from Medicare cards.  Here are a few facts regarding this change:

  1. New Medicare cards will start to be mailed out in April, 2018.

  2. CMS has until April, 2019 to replace all cards.

  3. Medical providers will have a 21 month grace period. Within this grace period, providers can use either a person’s SSN or the new ID number.

  4. New Medicare numbers will contain a combination of numbers and upper case letters.

  5. Although the ID number will be new, people with Medicare will not see a change in their benefits.

By replacing SSNs with a randomly assigned number, the CMS is hoping to better protect the identities of those receiving Medicare.

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