Monday, April 23, 2018

Medi(s)care heads' up

Identity theft has become an ever growing problem; most folks think it pertains primarily to credit cards and the like. But your Visa info isn't the only valuable item in your wallet: in an effort to stem the tide of health care fraud, the folks in DC have (finally) followed their own rules and changed the face of Medicare ID cards:

"Millions of people 65 or older will soon get new Medicare cards to prevent identity theft ... Social Security numbers aren’t being printed on the new cards. Instead, they will contain 11-digit personal identifiers with numbers and letters"

Which makes sense: previously, one's social security number doubles as one's Medicare ID (which became a big issue, too). As co-blogger Kelley poijnted out several years ago:

"According to the article, doctors do not need your social security number to bill. That is correct; however, we do need your social security number if you choose not to pay your bill and we have to turn you over to collections."

Yeah, those pesky doctors and wanting to get paid for services rendered. The point, though, was that folks were concerned about identity theft being helped along by having one's social security number on their Medicare card.

So here, at least, the government is addressing the issue, however late to the game it may be.

That's the good news.

The bad news is that nogoodniks have already begun to find ways to exploit this new development:

"But now con artists are cold calling seniors around the U.S. about the new cards ... trying to steal seniors’ Social Security numbers, bank account numbers and credit card information."

So what's the best way to fight these crooks?

Well, Indiana’s Senior Medicare Patrol program director Nancy Moore says "People need to know Medicare won't call you. They only operate via U.S. mail, but the scammers are very persistent."

Looks like "Just hang up" is the new "Just say no."
blog comments powered by Disqus