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If you’re enrolled in Medicare, you’ll be getting a new Medicare card in the next year or two with one big difference: the new card won’t have your Social Security number on it. Instead of the Social Security number, the new Medicare cards will have a randomly-assigned Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) made up of 11 numbers and letters.

This change is considered to be a big win in the fight against identity theft and scammers, especially for older Americans who face risks and are advised to carry their Medicare cards everywhere in case of emergency. The CMS said the change is in reaction to the increase in fraud targeting seniors.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will begin mailing out new Medicare cards to 58 million current beneficiaries this April, according to the AARP.

Some things to know about the new Medicare card:

  • Residents won’t need to take any action to get their new Medicare card.
  • The new card won’t change an enrolled member’s Medicare coverage or benefits.
  • Medicare will never ask for personal or private information before providing the new Medicare number and card. In fact, there are very limited situations in which Medicare will call someone.
  • There’s no charge for the new card.

The CMS warns if someone calls requesting information about Medicare numbers or other personal information, consumers should hang up and call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

Older Massachusetts residents with questions about their health insurance needs are also encouraged to speak with their local SHINE counselor. SHINE counselors are volunteers or staff trained and certified by the Executive Office of Elder Affairs in many areas of health insurance, including Medicare Part A, Part B, and Part D.

If you have additional questions, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by calling our Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757, Monday through Friday, from 9 am-4:30 pm. Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer. The Baker-Polito Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation along with its five agencies work together to achieve two goals: to protect and empower consumers through advocacy and education, and to ensure a fair playing field for Massachusetts businesses. The Office also oversees the state’s Lemon Laws and Arbitration Program, Data Breach reporting, Home Improvement Contractor Programs and the MA Do Not Call Registry.

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