Beneficiaries Urged to Destroy Outdated Medicare Cards
Providers will not accept cards with Social Security numbers after Dec. 31.
The new cards include a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) instead of a social security number. The MBI is a more secure identification number to help protect against identity theft and fraud. Starting in 2020, providers such as hospitals, doctors and labs will no longer be able to submit claims using a patient's social security number.
Even with the improvements to Medicare cards, it is important for beneficiaries to take precautions. Beneficiaries should guard their Medicare cards like a credit card and be wary of unsolicited requests for their Medicare number.
If you have not received your new Medicare card, you can call 1-800-MEDICARE for assistance with your MBI, and then create a MyMedicare.gov account online to print a copy of your card. If you have not received your card because of an incorrect address, contact the Social Security Administration to update your mailing address.
Those seeking hands-on assistance are encouraged to contact a SHINE counselor at the Area Agency on Aging. SHINE is a program of the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and is operated locally through AAASWFL. SHINE counselors help educate and empower Medicare beneficiaries to understand their health care options so they can make the best decisions for their needs.
SHINE provides free and unbiased information about Medicare for beneficiaries, their families, and caregivers. Counselors can educate beneficiaries about the pathways to Medicare, and benefits such as preventive services. Counselors also assist low-income Medicare beneficiaries in applying for cost saving programs.
As part of the national Senior Medicare Patrol program, SHINE counselors also educate beneficiaries to protect, detect, and report potential errors, fraud, and abuse with their Medicare.
SHINE counseling is available year-round in Southwest Florida. To receive help from SHINE, individuals may call to schedule an appointment by calling AAASWFL's Elder Helpline at 866-41-ELDER. For a listing of SHINE counseling sites and enrollment events, please visit http://www.floridashine.org.
The Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida is a nonprofit organization serving Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hendry, Lee, and Sarasota Counties. AAASWFL is the state's designated Aging and Disability Resource Center for Southwest Florida. The organization is committed to connecting older adults and adults with disabilities to resources and assistance for living safely with independence and dignity. More information is available at https://www.aaaswfl.org or by calling the toll-free Helpline at 866-41-ELDER.