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To fight identity theft for people with Medicare, the Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services is issuing new Medicare cards that will not longer include the Social Security number.  According to the AARP identity theft has been on the rise among those age 65 and older.  The number of cases reached 2.6 million in 2014, up from a half million incidents in just two years.   Instead of using the Social Security Number, the card will have the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI).  The effective date on the new cards, like the old cards, is the date each beneficiary was or is eligible for Medicare.  Some Medicare beneficiaries will receive their new cards as soon as April 2018.  Florida’s roll out is supposed to be after June of 2018.   According to NPR, Congress allocated $242 million for the switch-over, spread across four fiscal years.

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CMS will have a transition period from April 2018 to December 31, 2019 when either the old or the new Medicare cards can be used.   Once you receive you new Medicare card, you should destroy your old card.  However, if you are not enrolled in Medicare but instead have a Medicare Advantage program, do not destroy your card.  Please guard your new Medicare card and give it only to trusted people or health care providers.   You should keep your card with you in case you need care.

You do not have to pay for your new card.  Scams are surfacing already telling people that they must pay for their new cards.