Sunday, May 27, 2018

Don't let someone steal your new Medicare card

My insurer, United Healthcare, in connection with my AARP membership, just sent me their guidelines to help avoid someone scamming your new Medicare card which you should be receiving any day, if not already. Their points are:
• No action is needed. New Medicare cards will be automatically mailed to the address that CMS has on file. Medicare beneficiaries should not provide any information to anyone claiming it is needed for the new card.
• A temporary card is not needed. Medicare beneficiaries can continue to use their existing card until they receive a new one.
• CMS does not charge for Medicare cards.
• Medicare will not call. Be suspicious of anyone calling about the new Medicare card.
The most frightening thing you can experience today is medical identity theft. Here's the worst-case scenario. Someone steals your medical records, say, by having your new Medicare card info. They go to the hospital with a life-threatening diagnosis of diabetes. Because they have stolen your medical records, this information is entered into your file. You are not diabetic and at some point something happens to you that you are taken to the hospital unconscious. Because your record now indicates you are diabetic, it could be assumed you are in a diabetic coma, thus, doses of insulin to revive you.

Depending on how much insulin you were given, you could have dangerous side effects like hypoglycemia where blood sugar levels are so low that the body is not able to function properly. or it could even cause death. OK, this is the extreme, but I use this example to point out the fact that you should guard your medical records as much or more than your financial information. It is my understanding that one of the primary reasons for issuing new Medicare cards is to get rid of the Social Security number as you Medicare ID number.

That means you must protect it now the same as you have always been advised to protect the SS number.


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