New Medicare cards designed to fight fraud, identity theft

What an interesting week we have had, so many of you have sent me some great information which today I will share with you, because you, the readers, help me make a difference in this column. Before we begin, I hope everyone changed their clocks (fall – back one hour) and also checked the batteries in their smoke alarm or any other alarm of importance you may have.


Carmen Gonzalez Caldwell

I received the below email from a reader with great news regarding our Social Security/Medicare card. We dealt with this issue; remember we all wrote our congressional delegates, and except for Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, no one responded regarding our concerns. Thank you Alan for this information:

Dear Carmen: A while back (quite a while) I wrote to you about the problem of Social Security numbers and Medicare cards. I just came across the following blurb concerning Medicare and Social Security numbers. Thanks for staying on top of this serious issue.

New Medicare cards coming soon. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will begin mailing out Medicare cards without Social Security numbers printed on them beginning in April 2018 and hopes to replace all cards within a year after that. Instead, the new cards will contain a unique combination of numbers and letters. The change is intended to “prevent fraud, combat identify theft and safeguard taxpayer dollars,” according to a statement from Seema Verma, a CMS administrator. Until the new cards arrive, Medicare beneficiaries need to take steps to avoid revealing their Social Security number every time they use their Medicare card. “Do not carry your Medicare card with you unless you absolutely need it that day because you are going to the doctor or a pharmacy,” says Amy Nofziger, regional director of the AARP Foundation. “You can make a photo copy of your Medicare card and cross out the first five numbers so you have proof that you are Medicare-eligible. Most hospitals and doctors don’t ask for it at every visit you go to.” – Alan M. Goldberg

Another great email regarding Social Security use of number: Dear Ms. Caldwell: I went to a new doctor and of course they had a million and one papers for me to fill out (in this day of technology it makes no sense) and of course the first thing they wanted was my SS number (they already had made a copy of my card & driver license). I filled out the paper work but when it came to my SS I just wrote “already on file” and the last 4 numbers (to please them). The receptionist was not a happy person. I asked her if she will take responsibility/liability for the theft of my SS number, if so I will be happy to add it and she can initial it at proof she requested it. Needless to say she would not. Folks this does not keep you from seeing your doctor at any time. Thank you Carmen for your information helping us to be strong on these issues that can cause us a nightmare, I am 82 years old. Please continue to provide us with the crime prevention tools you give us. – Maddie.