QUESTION: Is this the month that the new Medicare cards will start being mailed to those who are currently receiving Medicare benefits?
ANSWER: Yes. The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 required the Agency to remove Social Security numbers from all Medicare cards by April 2019. The process of delivering these new cards will start this month and be completed by April 2019.
The new cards will contain a uniquely randomly assigned code made up of eleven numbers and uppercase letters and will be referred to as a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (BMI). This new number will be used for billing, to verify eligibility for services and to check claim status.
The new card will no longer show your gender nor require your signature.
The new card is white with a blue stripe across the top and a red stripe across the bottom. It will contain the name of the beneficiary, the unique BMI number, the services entitled to and the date that coverage started.
While the changes to the card are expected to help reduce frauds and scams you should still guard your new card as you did your original card.
The scammers are already hard at work trying to learn how to obtain and how to use this new number.
Protect yourself by following a few simple rules. Review each Medicare Explanation of Benefits Statements. Make sure the items on the statements match the services you received. If you have questions about your statement call the Medicare hotline at 800-633-4227. Share your new BMI number only with trusted health care providers or with Medicare if you need to contact them.
Don’t leave your BMI number in e-mails or on your computer in digital files. Treat your new card as you did your original card.
You don’t have to do anything to receive this new card. It will be sent to you automatically . There is no charge or action required on your part. Your benefits remain the same.
If you receive a call from someone offering to help you obtain your card just disregard the call as it is a scam.
Tuesday – April 24 – 4:00 to 5:30 pm – Seminar – “Navigating a Hospital Stay” – at Senior Concerns Day Care Center, 401 Hodencamp Road in Thousand Oaks. For reservations call (805) 497-0189.
WEDNESDAY – April 25 – 1:30 to 3:00 – Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurse Association – “Diabetes Class” – at Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks. No reservations needed – just drop in.
THURSDAY – April 26 – 1:30 to 3:00 pm – Seminar – “Will You Pass Your Next Driving Test?” – at Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks. Call (805) 381-2744 for reservations.
FRIDAY – April 27 – 2:00 to 3:30 pm – Seminar – “Get That Job” – become more confident in your job search – at Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks. For reservations and more information call (805) 381-2744.
SATURDAY – April 28 – 11:30 am to 1:00 pm – “Memory Café” – a social gathering for those with memory loss and their family caregivers – at Senior Concerns Day Care Center, 401 Hodencamp Road in Thousand Oaks. Reservations are required and can be made by calling (805) 497-0189.
WEDNESDAY – May 2 – 1:00 pm – Ventura County Crime Stoppers will present – “Keeping Our Community Safe” – at Thousand Oaks Council on Aging meeting – at the Civic Arts Plaza Board Room, 2100 Thousand Oaks Boulevard in Thousand Oaks.
Betty Berry is a senior advocate for Senior Concerns. The advocates are located at the Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91362 or call (805) 495-6250 or e-mail email@example.com (please include your telephone number.) You are invited to submit questions on senior issues.