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Financial Health Check: 4 Things You Should Know About Medicare

June 29, 2018

Are you or is someone you love enrolled in Medicare? There are some important changes underway with Medicare cards that you should be aware of this summer, right here in Connecticut.

Medicare is a national health insurance program for United States citizens or permanent residents. Funded by taxes paid by workers and employers, Medicare helps people pay for some medical expenses including hospital insurance, medical bills, and prescription drugs.

Participants in Medicare are known as “Medicare beneficiaries” and carry cards detailing:

  • Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) – the beneficiary’s unique identification number
  • Eligible Services – the types of Medicare coverage the beneficiary is entitled to receive
  • Coverage Start Date

Historically, the HICN listed on Medicare cards has been beneficiaries’ Social Security number. However, Social Security numbers are being removed from Medicare cards to prevent fraud, fight identity theft and keep taxpayer dollars safe. The new identification numbers will not affect any services beneficiaries are entitled to receive.

In April 2018, Medicare stopped issuing cards with Social Security numbers to newly eligible Medicare beneficiaries and began mailing new cards to existing Medicare beneficiaries. Medicare is continuing to mail new cards to existing beneficiaries until April 2019.

The distribution of new Medicare cards to existing beneficiaries is taking place in waves, by state. Connecticut Medicare beneficiaries are scheduled to begin receiving their new cards this summer. Distribution of the cards is random by geographic location. If you are a beneficiary, your card may arrive at a different time than that of your friends or neighbors.

If you or someone you love is a Medicare beneficiary in Connecticut:

  1. Ensure your address listed with Social Security is current; your new card will be sent to the address on file. To check your address, visit: https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/
  2. Monitor the status of card mailings online at:
    www.medicare.gov/NewCard
  3. Watch out for scams and report any suspected instances of fraud, errors, or abuse. Scammers are calling Medicare beneficiaries and claiming to be employees of the Social Security Administration, Medicare, or the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). These scammers say that they are informing beneficiaries of the Medicare mailing, and ask beneficiaries to confirm personal information.
     
    Medicare will not call you to confirm your current Medicare number, coverage, or effective dates. Do not give any of your personal information to anyone over the phone. If you receive a call from someone requesting this information from you, hang up the phone and call Connecticut’s Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) program at 1-800-994-9422. SMP exists to empower and assist Medicare beneficiaries, families, and caregivers. The office of the Inspector General wants to know what areas are receiving these fraudulent calls.
  4. Use available Medicare resources for guidance and support on this or other topics:

Caroline Wetzel is a Certified Financial PlannerTM (CFP®) and Vice President, Private Wealth Advisor with Procyon Private Wealth Partners, LLC. Procyon Private Wealth Partners, LLC and Procyon Institutional Partners, LLC (collectively “Procyon Partners”) are registered investment advisors with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”).

This article is provided for informational purposes only and for the intended recipient[s] only.

This article is derived from numerous sources, which are believed to be reliable, but not audited by Procyon for accuracy.

This article may also include opinions and forward-looking statements which may not come to pass. Information is at a point in time and subject to change. Procyon Partners does not provide tax or legal advice.

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