Medicare started sending out new ID cards last month. It’s doing so by state and May is Hawaii’s month.
So our nearly 265,000 Medicare enrollees are starting to get them.
But most don’t even know they’re coming and they don’t know they’re at risk for fraud.
“Tell me what you’ve heard about the new Medicare card,” KHON2 asked Medicare enrollee Steve Lohse. “Only that they were coming I haven’t heard anything else about it,” he said.
Turns out Lohse is far from the only one. An AARP survey shows 76 percent know nothing or very little about Medicare’s plan to issue new cards.
The advantage of the new card? It won’t have your social security number on it anymore, which is great, more secure.
“But you still have to keep the number on your card secret because people can use that to commit fraud on Medicare,” said Craig Gima, AARP communications director.
Gima warns scammers are looking for other opportunities to commit fraud.
“Scammers are taking advantage of the fact that something new is coming out, the new cards,” said Gima, “and they’re calling people up and telling them they have to pay for it. You don’t have to pay for it.”
“I’ve heard that if anyone calls you about it or asks that you send money to get a new card, that’s fraud. That’s not true. Just disregard it and don’t listen to them,” said Jane Morreira, Medicare enrollee.
Scammers could also ask for the number that was taken off the card.
“They’re also telling people in order to get the card, they need your social security number,” said Gima. “They have your social security number. They should know that the cards are coming out that they don’t have to do anything, that they don’t have to pay anything for it and if they get a call from someone saying they have to do something to get it, that’s a scam.”
In that case, call 1-800-Medicare. Oh, and a final piece of advice as you wait for your card.
“All I heard is you’ll get it through your mail, but don’t destroy your old one until you get your new one, because we’ll probably be excited and throw it away thinking oh it’s coming in, and then you don’t get it. Hopefully that don’t happen to no one,” said Lon Maynes, Medicare enrollee.