The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is removing Social Securitynumbers from Medicare cards. New important information about their work to assign new identification numbers and issue new Medicare cards to all people with Medicare beginning in April 2018. According to (CMS), they want to be sure that you know about these changes and have the information you need to make a seamless transition.
According to CMS, new Medicare cards will have a new unique Medicare number to replace the current Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) on the new Medicare cards. They are taking this step to protect people with Medicare from fraudulent use of Social security numbers, which can lead to identity theft and illegal use of Medicare benefits.
New cards will be mailed out in April 2018 and will meet the statutory deadline for replacing all Medicare cards by April 2019. Patients who are new to the Medicare program starting in April 2018 and later will only have a card with the new Medicare number.
There will be geographical waves of successive mailings. Mailing everyone a new card will take some time. To protect people with Medicare from scams associated with sharing the mailing schedule, targeted local outreach will occur, including outreach to health care providers; before cards are due to arrive in a geographical area.
A recent AARP news article indicated Congress has come up with a way to make it harder to make Medicare scammers to steal your ID and rip you off. Solution: new Medicare cards that don’t include your Social Security number, gender or signature. These and other changes will make it harder for criminals to steal your identity. According to the AARP report, Medicare members will have until December 31, 2019 to begin using the new ID. Both the new card and your current card will be valid until then.