By Lori Lyn Lirio
COMMONWEALTH of Northern Mariana Islands and other medicare card holders from Hawaii and the US mainland will now be protected from scams as the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services or CMS has started distributing new scam and fraud-proof Medicare cards to their members.
According to Nicole Black, CMS Seattle regional office press secretary, said they started mailing the new cards to CNMI, Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and the American territories of American Samoa and Guam.
“Everyone with Medicare in these states and territories should receive their new card by the end of the month and can begin using it right away,” Black said.
She said key features of the Medicare card, include helping people with Medicare detect and avoid identity theft, scams and fraud.
“It provides updates on the roll out process so people with Medicare can check the status of when they will receive their new card,” Black said.
She added Social Security numbers have been replaced with new identifying numbers.
“Social Security numbers are no longer on the new Medicare card to protect people with Medicare from identity theft and fraud.”
Black, at the same time, reminded the public that the Medicare card is free and CMS is not authorizing anyone to call its members to ask personal information, such as Social Security number, bank information, or to pay for the new Medicare card. She added there are no changes to Medicare benefits.
“Once you receive the New Medicare card, you should destroy your old Medicare card by shredding or cutting it up with scissors.”
People with Medicare can sign up for email notifications on when the new cards will be mailed to their area by going to www.medicare.gov/newcard