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Officials spread word to Arizonans about new Medicare cards

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, left, and Greg Dill of the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services discussed changes in Medicare cards during a press conference in Phoenix on Sept. 27, 2018. (KTAR Photo/Ali Vetnar)

PHOENIX – Officials are getting the word out about new Medicare cards designed to combat fraud and identity theft.

Around 1.3 million new cards will be mailed to Arizonans on Medicare by the end of November, Greg Dill of the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said during a Thursday press conference.

The biggest change is that Social Security numbers on the cards are being replaced with randomly assigned alphanumeric identifiers.

“Social Security numbers have been removed from Medicare cards to prevent identity theft, to stop crooks from using Medicare benefits illegally and to protect tax dollars,” Dill said.

Dill said the cards will come with instructions on how to use them and noted that benefits aren’t changing.

He said people should make sure the Social Security Administration has their correct mailing addresses through their online account or by calling 1-800-772-1213.

Mailing started last week and cards might not arrive until end of November, Dill said.

You can check at MyMedicare.gov to see if your card has been mailed. If it hasn’t arrived by Thanksgiving, report it by calling 1-800-MEDICARE.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said old cards bearing social security numbers should be shredded before being discarded.

He said to share the new number only with medical providers and warned of phone scammers trying to get information that could be used for fraud or identity theft.

“Medicare officials will not call you and ask for your new number or ask for your personal information,” he said.

“Never give out your personal or financial information to somebody you don’t know over the phone.”

Brnovich also emphasized that the cards are free, so if anybody tries to charge for one then it’s a scam.

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