New Medicare Cards Are Arriving By MailPosted: Updated:
When Sandi Kirch of Sackets Harbor got her mail on Monday, she found 2 letters from the Department of Health and Human Services.
"I opened it up and it said this is your new Medicare card and I'm looking at it thinking no, this is not right," she said.
But it turns out it was right. Medicare is sending new cards out to all its recipients that no longer have Social Security numbers on them.
Instead there's a unique 11 character combination of numbers and letters.
After reading the letter, Kirch learned Medicare is required by law to take Social Security numbers off of the cards to protect recipients' identities. It's a change that is welcome to someone like Kirch, who has had her identity stolen before.
"It's devastating, it can wreck your life, and so I was really pleased with it," she said.
However, with the switch over to new cards, there is a risk of scammers trying to reach you before your card does and groups like the Jefferson County Office for the Aging are warning recipients to look out for them.
“We're talking about a population that is vulnerable at times to scams so one of the things that's happened is people are receiving phone calls that they need to provide personal information or pay a fee for these new cards but that is absolutely not true," said Tim Ruetten, director of Jefferson County Office for the Aging.
Ruetten says you don't need to do anything to get your new card, as long as your address is up to date. And once you get it you can start using it right away and destroy your old one. A simple change of a card is making a big difference.
"I really feel much more protected by it," said Kirch.