• Not associated with CMS or Medicare.gov

Is There a New Medicare Card?

A reader wrote to me the other day expressing concern about a phone call they received. The caller, who identified themself as a Medicare representative, asked a series of personal questions and mentioned a new plastic Medicare card with a chip. Now stressed, the reader wonders if they made a mistake and missed out on a new Medicare card. They’re unsure who to contact to verify if Medicare is legitimately trying to reach them and feeling overwhelmed about making the right decision. Is there a new Medicare card? Here’s what I know:

Don’t stress yourself out because there is NOT a new plastic Medicare card with a chip being issued! This is a Medicare scam that is targeting America’s senior population. Your Medicare card is still the same card you currently have.

Medicare and Social Security will NEVER call your home or office and ask for your personal or banking information. Medicare already has all the information needed to verify they are speaking with you. If the government needs information from you, a letter would be sent from the specific government agency (such as Medicare), telling you what information is needed, and how to contact them with any questions.

The most recent update to Medicare cards occurred in April 2019. Social Security numbers were removed and replaced with unique, random Medicare beneficiary identifiers. These identifiers use a combination of letters and numbers.

Taxpayers are losing over $100 billion a year to Medicare and Medicaid fraud according to estimates from the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association. Fraud against Medicare and Medicaid harms Americans by reducing the funds available for legitimate healthcare claims.

How to Report Medicare Scams

There is an organization called Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) that helps those on Medicare learn how to detect fraud and abuse. To report Medicare fraud or abuse call the nationwide SMP toll-free number 877-808-2468 or visit the SMP website at www.smpresource.org to locate the closest SMP office in your state.

The SMP website discusses common Medicare Fraud Schemes such as telemedicine, genetic testing, hospice, Medicare card scams, and the list goes on.

Here are a few tips to help protect you against Medicare fraud:

  • Have a safety script by the phone and do not give out personal information to anyone who calls. Stick to the script no matter what (have someone help you write your script).
  • Never give your Medicare or Social Security number to strangers who call you on the phone or come to your door. Just like you tell your grandkids not to talk to strangers, you need not talk to them either. Play the “Stranger Danger” game.
  • Do NOT accept “free” offers in exchange for your Medicare number. Remember, there is nothing “free.” The fraudsters will have Medicare pay for whatever they are offering, and the fraudster will use your Medicare number to get it paid for!

The Toni Says team members are instructed never to write down a client’s Medicare number in our file and we instruct clients never to email us any sensitive information such as Social Security numbers or a picture of their new Medicare card.

Medicare/Medicaid fraud is exploding and the only way to stop this fraud is to let your friends know what I have just told you. We need to stand together and stop those who only want to make a “fast dollar” from Medicare and Medicaid and, most especially, from YOU!

Originally published March 19, 2024

Author(s): Toni King

Toni King is an author, columnist, and host of the Medicare Moments podcast. She specializes in Medicare, Social Security, and long-term care planning.