New Medicare Cards, Changes to Medigap, and Scammers; Oh my!
As you have probably heard by now, the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is scheduled to begin issuing new Medicare cards this month. New cards will be issued in phases, mailed by geographic location, beginning in April 2018. The goal is to reduce fraud, fight identity theft, and protect taxpayer dollars by removing the current SSN-based HICN, and replacing it with a new, unique Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) number. By April 2019, all Medicare beneficiaries should possess an updated card with their new, unique MBI.
Click here for a regional schedule to help your clients anticipate when to expect their new card. CMS has also released a Medicare Card Messaging Guidelines document which you can reference to help your clients better understand the new changes. It is important to note that the new MBIs are confidential and should be protected as Personally Identifiable Information. New cards will arrive in an envelope from the Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. See below for a sample.
Help Protect Your Clients!
Ironically, scammers are already taking advantage of this new measure intended to protect beneficiaries against them. There have already been reports of telephone phishing scams, viral social media alerts and emails from individuals claiming to represent Medicare or CMS, attempting to extract personal information or even “processing fees” from vulnerable senior citizens.
It is our responsibility as agents to help protect our clients from scammers by educating them. CMS has extensive resources on how Medicare beneficiaries can protect themselves on their website, including this flyer with details about the new cards. For more information, check out the official CMS webpage for the new Medicare Cards.
Are you a licensed agent looking to grow your business and better serve your clients? Then I encourage you to call our office today to learn all about the RBI family and more importantly how we can serve your business! 800-997-3107.