The Missouri SMP (Senior Medicare Patrol) is joining with federal officials in a new campaign to help seniors protect their identity and help prevent health care fraud by guarding their Medicare cards like they would credit cards.
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, identity theft from stolen Medicare numbers is becoming more common. To help combat the problem, Medicare has begun the process of removing Social Security Numbers from Medicare cards and replacing them with a new, unique number for each person with Medicare. Medicare will mail new Medicare cards with the new numbers between April 2018 and April 2019.
Meanwhile, here are some tips on protecting yourself from identity theft that can lead to health care fraud:
- Don’t share your Medicare Number with anyone who contacts you by telephone, email or in person, unless you’ve given them permission in advance.
- Medicare will NEVER contact you (unless you ask them to) for your Medicare Number or other personal information.
- Don’t ever let anyone borrow or pay to use your Medicare Number.
- Review your Medicare Summary Notice to be sure you and Medicare are only being charged for actual items and services received.
If you need to enroll in a Medicare plan:
- Remember there are no “early bird discounts” or “limited time offers.”
- Don’t let anyone rush you to enroll by claiming you need to “act now for the best deal.”
- Be skeptical of free gifts, free medical services, discount packages or any offer that sounds “too good to be true.”
- If someone calls you and asks for your Medicare Number or other personal information, hang up and call the Missouri SMP at 1-888-515-6565.
This project is supported in part by a grant from the Administration on Aging (AoA), Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Grantees carrying out projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Therefore, points of view or opinions do not necessarily represent official AoA, ACL, or DHHS policy.