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How Medicare enroll can avoid Medicare Scams

Sudhir Mathuria HEALTHLIFE 360 713-771-2900

Sudhir Mathuria

Don’t fall for these schemes designed to steal your personal or credit card information
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services began mailing out new Medicare cards in April 2018. The new Medicare cards contain a unique Medicare number instead of Social Security numbers, a change that is intended to prevent identity theft. However, scammers are launching fraud schemes to take advantage of the Medicare card replacement program. Here are some of the new Medicare scams to watch out for:
– A processing fee: One scheme involves callers who pretend to be Medicare representatives and ask for a processing fee or other immediate credit card payment before a new Medicare card will be sent. The culprits pose as Medicare representatives in hopes of gaining access to Social Security numbers, bank account information and other personal data. Some also may seek payment for the consumer’s newly issued Medicare card. However, there is no charge for the new Medicare cards, and they will be automatically mailed to all existing Medicare beneficiaries between April 2018 and April 2019. These cards are free of charge. There will be no personal calls from Medicare about the card.
– A temporary card. Callers claiming to be from Medicare are asking older people to purchase a temporary card for between $5 and $50, Morales says. However, you don’t need a temporary card. You can continue to use your existing Medicare card until December 31, 2019. Your medical benefits are the same, regardless of which card you use. You can view which states are currently receiving new cards at medicare.gov/newcard and sign up to receive an alert when cards will be mailed to your state. Scammers often react to what is in the news, so they are likely mentioning the new Medicare cards as a way of hooking their potential victims.
– Verifying personal information. You might receive calls asking you to verify your Social Security number, address or other personal information before a new Medicare card will be sent. This is a ploy to convince you to disclose personal information. Medicare will not be calling individual beneficiaries to check personal data. People should beware of anyone who contacts them about their new Medicare card because Medicare will never ask you to give personal or private information to get your new Medicare card. The new Medicare cards will be mailed to you automatically, and there won’t be any changes to your benefits.
If you want to double-check that Medicare has your current address, you can do so by contacting the Social Security Administration at socialsecurity.gov/myaccount, 1-800-772-1213 or by calling your local Social Security office.
– The new card was lost. Another version of the scam involves a caller saying that there is a problem with your new Medicare card, such as the card being lost or someone else tried to use it. Supposedly to resolve the situation, you could be asked for personal information or payment. However, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services reports that it will take a year to mail out new cards to all beneficiaries and doesn’t expect to complete the process until April 2019. Those who reside in Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Puerto Rico, Tennessee and the Virgin Islands will be among the last to receive the new cards.
– A request to mail in your old card. Some scammers are asking retirees to mail in their old Medicare card. However, you should not give your old card to anyone else, because it contains your Social Security number. Instead, once you receive your new Medicare card, the old card should be destroyed in such a way that your Social Security number is no longer visible. “You should shred your old Medicare card because it has your Social Security number out there. You don’t want your old card floating around with your Social Security number on it.
To enroll in a suitable Medicare Plan or plan for Long Term Care contact Sudhir Mathuria at 713-771-2900.

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