UNITED STATES—Toni: I am very concerned about a phone call I received yesterday from a representative with Medicare asking all types of personal questions and informing me that there was a new plastic Medicare card with a chip like a credit card. I told the caller what you said during your online Medicare webinar and for us to not give personal information over the phone.
I’m concerned that I could have made a mistake and that I have missed out on the new Medicare card. Would you please advise what I should do or who I should call to see if Medicare is trying to contact me? Sometimes it is hard to know what’s the right thing to do when it involves Medicare. Deidre from Houston, TX.
Deidre: Don’t stress yourself out because there is NOT a new plastic Medicare card with a chip being issued! This is a new Medicare scam that is targeting America’s Medicare population. Your Medicare card is still the same card you currently have.
Medicare and Social Security will NEVER randomly call your home or office and ask for your personal or banking information. Medicare already has all the information they need about you. If information was needed, a letter would be sent advising you what specific government agency such as Medicare would need and to contact them for additional information.
The Medicare card was updated in 2useby giving a random identifier that includes numbers and letters and no longer uses a Social Security number. There are no plans to update it at this time.
In March, it was reported that over $100 billion a year is being targeted by fraud to the Medicare and Medicaid programs nationwide. Fraud hurts America because when thieves steal from Medicare, there is less money available for healthcare that one really needs.
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 the state where you live.
The SMP website discusses common Medicare Fraud Schemes such as COVID-19, genetic testing, hospice, Medicare card scams, and the list goes on.
Below are a few tips to help protect you against Medicare fraud:
- Have a safety script by your phone. Tell anyone, especially scammers, you do not give out personal information to anyone who calls. (Get your kids or a friend to help you write your script.) Stick to the script no matter what!
- 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.” They will have Medicare pay for whatever they are offering, and they will use your Medicare number to get it paid for!!
Medicare fraud is exploding and the only way to stop Medicare 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, your checking account/credit card and most of all from YOU!
Toni’s book “Medicare Survival Guide Advanced” edition is offering a $10 discount available to the Toni Says® readers and their friends at www.tonisays.com and www.seniorresource.com.Visit www.seniorresource.com/medicare-moments to listen to Toni’s Medicare Moments podcasts and purchase the Medicare Survival Guide Advanced edition. If you have a Medicare question or would like a Medicare consultation, email email@example.com or call 832-519-8664.