Recipients of Medicare will receive new cards to reduce identity theft

Christine Burney
Staff Writer

Here’s everything you need to know about the new Medicare cards.
New Number: New Medicare cards will be issued to recipients starting this year. Medicare is removing Social Security numbers from the cards in order to better protect recipients from identity theft and fraud. According to the Texas SMP, the Senior Medicare Patrol, Medicare loses approximately $60 Billion annually “due to fraud, errors and abuse” ... Fraud cases account for nearly “3 to 10 percent of annual health care expenditures.”
April 2018: You will be issued a new Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN), which will be made up of a random 11-digit mix of numbers and letters that will be unique to you. The card will be mailed to existing recipients starting in April 2018, with the goal of full implementation April 2019. You do not have to do anything to get your card, it will come in the mail automatically.
Same benefits: You will receive the same coverage as you did before and you may begin using your new card immediately when you receive it.
This card is free: There is no fee associated with this card. The new card project is supported in part by a grant (90MP0224) from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C.
Be on the alert for scams. If you receive a call asking to confirm your identity for your card, asks for your current number or even to pay a fee, it is a scam. Hang up and contact the TX-SMP. Never give out this kind of information over the phone or if someone comes to your door.
If you know of any Medicare Fraud, Error or Abuse, please call the Texas Senior Medicare Patrol at 1-888-341-6187 to report.