Recent changes to Medicare are designed to protect beneficiaries from fraud - but the state insurance department says to be on the lookout for scams in the near future.
Consumer Assistance Division Director David Zimmerman says the changes were made in 2015, and new requirements included that all Medicare cards were to be replaced to no longer include a beneficiary's social security number. He says this was done as a layer of protection so no one could use a Medicare card to gain access to a beneficiary's social security number. Zimmerman says over the last couple of months, new cards have begun being sent to beneficiaries and it will take about a year for the process to be finished.. He says the cards are simply sent by mail at no cost to the beneficiary. He also says no Medicare representative will be calling to verify any information regarding the cards - so if anyone calls and tells you they are with Medicare, it's a scam.
"Someone calling saying, 'hey, I'm Medicare and I want to double check the social security number for your new card,' that's a real big scam. Some are scamming people by saying there's a $10 charge for these cards, and 'hey, I need your banking information, or credit card information so I can bill that $10.' And another one is that someone calls and they try to get this information out of a person, and if that person is reluctant - some of them are actually coming and saying 'well, if you don't provide me with this information your benefits could cease to exist.'"
Zimmerman says if anyone DOES call you claiming to be with Medicare, just end the call immediately. He says the calls can be reported to Senior Medicare Patrol, or SMP which is operated out of Minot, or to the state's Attorney General's Office. He also says when you do receive your new Medicare card, you can shred and destroy your old one.