Toni Says: Watch out for Medicare scammers
Question: Toni, These phone calls are driving me crazy. I don’t know who has given my phone number out, but I have been receiving about 4 to 5 phone calls a week for the last couple of months. They say they are either Medicare or Social Security calling about my “new Medicare card” and they want to verify my information before they send out the “new cards”. Then they have the nerve to ask me to tell them my Social Security number, address and a bunch of other things.
This does not sound right, and I was wondering if you had any information on when the new Medicare card is coming.
Linnette from Margate, Florida
Answer: Linnette, on the medicare.gov website it states: WATCH OUT FOR SCAMMERS.
Medicare will never call you uninvited and ask you to give personal or private information to get your new Medicare Number and card.
At the Toni Says® office, we are swamped with letters, emails and phone calls about the “new Medicare card.” Below are 10 things from the Medicare.gov website that will help the Toni Says® readers understand how the “new Medicare card” is being released.
When you first enroll in Medicare, you’ll get your red, white, and blue Medicare card in the mail. If you started receiving a Social Security benefits prior to turning age 65, you'll get your red, white, and blue Medicare card in the mail 3 months before your 65th birthday or your 25th month of getting disability benefits.
Ten things to know about your new Medicare card from Medicare.gov website:
1) Your new card will have a new Medicare Number that’s unique to you, instead of your Social Security Number.
2) Your new card will automatically come to you. All you need to do is be sure your address is up to date. Visit www.ssa.gov/myaccount to verify your address.
3) Mailing takes time. Your card may arrive at a different time than your friend’s or neighbor’s.
4) Your new card is paper, which is easier for many providers to use and copy.
5) Once you get your new Medicare card, destroy your old Medicare card and start using your new card right away.
6) Your Medicare coverage and benefits will stay the same.
7) If you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO), your Medicare Advantage Plan ID card is your main card for Medicare — you should keep and use it whenever you need care.
8) And, if you have a Medicare drug plan, be sure to keep that card as well. Even if you use one of these other cards, you also may be asked to show your new Medicare card, so keep it with you.
9) Only give your new Medicare Number to doctors, pharmacists, other health care providers, your insurers, or people you trust to work with Medicare on your behalf.
10) If you forget your new Medicare card, you, your doctor or other health care provider may be able to look up your Medicare Number online.
Linnette, if you need to go into more detail about this or other Medicare subjects, The Toni Says® organization has started an Association that has Medicare lessons from beginner to expert levels for you to utilize at your own pace as long as you join. The new association is called American Baby Boomer Society and is located at www.abbs4u.com.
Toni King is the author of Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced is having a book bundle special at www.tonisays.com.