NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla. — If you receive healthcare coverage through Medicare, chances are you have already received your new Medicare card in the mail.
More than 61 million Medicare beneficiaries have been receiving the new medicare cards since 2018; however, many are still holding on to their old card.
The most significant difference you'll notice between the new and the old cards is the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI).
"The old cards had a person's social security number, which we all know no one wants to be walking around carrying their social. The new card has a unique 11 digit identifier, mixture of letters and number," said Kirsten O'Donnell, Area Agency On Aging For Southwest Florida.
O'Donnell says the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier number makes the new cards more secure.
"Starting on January 1, 2020, providers like doctor offices, hospitals, and health clinics will not be accepting the old medicare cards anymore," said O'Donnell.
With the old cards soon becoming invalid, the Area Agency On Aging For Southwest Florida urges Medicare beneficiaries to properly dispose old cards to avoid fraud.
"We want to make sure that people are actually destroying those cards. Tear it up, shred it, do whatever you can to make sure that no one can get your social security," said O'Donnell.
But it is still essential for beneficiaries to take precautions with their new Medicare cards.
"You don't want strangers getting access to your medicare number, the same way you wouldn't strangers getting access to one of your credit cards," said O'Donnell.
O'Donnell warns that Medicare will never call beneficiaries requesting their identification number, and it's important people know this to avoid being scammed.
If you are a Medicare beneficiary and have not received your new card, you can call 1-800-Medicare or go on mymedicare.gov.
People with questions can also contact The Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida at 1-866-413-5337 or visit www.aaaswfl.org.