The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) continue to mail out new Medicare cards to residents of Illinois. The rollout started in June, but continues into July.
Sadly, along with any big wholesale change like this (affecting roughly 60 million seniors across the country), we see people trying to take advantage of the situation. Experts have been warning for some time that there will be scams and schemes related to this nationwide rollout of new Medicare cards.
- Medicare will NEVER call, email or text you to ask for personal information, especially your social security number — protecting your social security number is the biggest reason behind the change in cards.
- The new cards cost NOTHING. If you’re asked to pay a fee to expedite delivery of your new card, it’s a scam. If someone contacts you asking you to pay for anything related to your new card, it is a scam. You will receive your card at no cost to you when your name/address comes up in the government’s schedule.
- Medicare will not contact you via phone, email or text to discuss your “new” benefits or to find out if you’ve received your new card. If you get communication like this, it’s a scam!
- If someone calls, emails or texts you and claims your Medicare benefits are in jeopardy of being cancelled unless you do something, this is a scam.
- Medicare does not accept payment in the form of gift cards, wired money or credit cards.
If you receive a call or another kind of communication where you are being asked personal information or are being “threatened” (i.e. “give us this or else your benefits will be canceled”), just HANG UP. People who prey on seniors do so because they know you’ve been taught to be polite and kind. After hanging up, immediately call the Illinois Senior Medicare Patrol at AgeOptions at (800) 699-9043.
For additional information, check out this tip sheet, New Medicare Cards: What YOU Need to Know. You can also check the status of the card mailings in your area, and sign up to get an email notification when your new card is in the mail at medicare.gov/newcard.
As always, if you have any questions, or we can help you with anything related to the challenges of aging, give our Elder Care Advisors a call at 217-726-9200.