New Medicare Cards to Protect Senior Citizens from Identity Theft
We talk about identity theft protection a lot. Why wouldn’t we? We’re in the business of destroying your most sensitive information, further protecting you from identity theft. But not all sensitive information is ready to be destroyed. In fact, some of your most sensitive information is with you every day.
Take Medicare for instance. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) distributes Medicare cards to people ages 65 and over daily. For reasons beyond our understanding, the recipient’s social security number is printed right on the card itself and serves as the unique identifier for medical professionals to access their information and coverage. If you’re like most people who care about protecting your social security number, you simply leave your social security card at home unless you absolutely need it. This poses a major threat to senior citizens who carry their Medicare card with them wherever they go. Luckily, CMS has made a major announcement to change this.
In September, CMS gave the public its first look at the newly designed Medicare card. The new card contains a unique, randomly-assigned number that replaces the current Social Security-based number.
CMS will begin to mail the new cards in April 2018 to meet the statutory deadline for replacing all existing cards by April 2019.
“The goal of the initiative to remove Social Security numbers from Medicare cards is to help prevent fraud, combat identify theft, and safeguard taxpayer dollars,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “We’re very excited to share the new design.”
With the rise in identity theft over the last few years (especially in the medical field), this step forward by CMS will greatly benefit all Medicare members.
When it’s time to destroy those old cards, don’t forget to do it the right way.