It is the document we have all been waiting for and the best easy to follow guide to Medicare. Medicare and You 2018, the official U.S. government Medicare Handbook, is out now for free download. This will include information about the new Medicare cards that are being issued in 2018. When you, the agent, meet with your client, they may have questions about the new guide and what to expect with the new Medicare cards. Here are some of the highlights of why CMS is changing the Medicare card.
New Medicare Cards
One huge change in Medicare for 2018 is the new Medicare cards that are being sent out to 60 million people throughout the United States. On the current cards, the social security number of the Medicare recipient is the Medicare claim number. There were many concerns by the public that putting sensitive information on the card could lead to fraud and identity theft. If someone got a hold of a Medicare card, they could illegally use the benefits to receive Medical attention.
The new Medicare card will have a new claim number. Instead of a social security number, it will be a random string of capital letters and numbers. This new card with the new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) will be sent out to all 60 million Americans starting in April 2018. The plan is for all cards to be replaced by April 2019.
Emphasize to your client that this change is for the better and keep a positive tone on it. It will significantly reduce the risk of identity theft and fraud and steps are being taken by CMS to make this as seamless a transition as possible.
CMS promises to do all they can to help providers prepare for this momentous change. They want to make this transition as easy as possible for doctors, patients, and doctor staff. They are collecting feedback from providers to create a secure look-up tool at the point of service. This will make processing claims convenient for medical practices, hospitals, and medical staff.
Your clients may ask you how CMS is preparing medical staff for this significant change. Let them know that Doctors’ offices and hospitals have been preparing for this change for a few years. CMS is constantly communicating with medical staff to work with them on how to make this an easy transition.
How Seniors Prepare
The number one thing you need to do is make sure that your clients address is up-to-date. CMS will be sending the Medicare cards to whichever address they have on file, and if they have changed their address, they must update it as soon as possible. This is done through their online Social Security Account or by calling 1-800-772-1213 M-F, 7am – 7pm. Direct your client to this website to give some direction on how to change their address or replace a lost card.
Also inform the client to make sure they are looking through their mail thoroughly starting April 2018. Important mail can be easily looked over especially since most of us get a lot of spam mail. Make sure to download the Medicare & You 2018 Handbook to review all the updates for 2018.
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*The picture used in the thumbnail in this article and the picture embedded in this article are from this website: https://www.medicare.gov/pubs/pdf/10050-Medicare-and-You.pdf