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Are You A Good Steward of Your Medicare?

June 4, 2018

Guard Your Card…Protect Your Benefits… Brightmore University brought some very important information to the residents of our community regarding their new Medicare Card that will soon be coming to them. Stephanie Bias with the NC Department of Insurance and NC Senior Medicare Patrol, Program Director, presented a very thorough and concise program detailing the “10 Things to Know About Your New Medicare Card.”   As she clearly explained each step she brought to the audience questions such as “Are you prepared for your new Medicare card, and do you know the steps to ensure your new Medicare Beneficiary ID Number is protected?” The 10 important things to know include: Mailing takes time-even though the cards are being mailed out in April 2018, you may not get yours until the following November due to random mailing dates. Keep using your old card until the new one gets to you & make sure your mailing address is correct if you have moved. Destroy your old Medicare Card-this is one step Stephanie did not agree with. She recommends you keep your old card in safe keepings in case you need it to cross-reference a statement or the new system goes down. It would be wise to keep it for at least 2 years. Guard your Card-Make sure the front of your card with the unique # is facing backwards so if you are in line at the drugstore, the person behind you cannot take a photo of it. Also, make sure you read your Medicare Statements to make sure you are not being billed for services that you have not received. Your Medicare Number is unique-your new card will not have your SS# or signature on it anymore. You will be issued a “Random Generated #” that has absolutely no identifying factors. Keep your New Card with you-carry in a protective holder so you have it when your providers ask for it. These new cards cannot be laminated. That is considered defacing Federal Property. Your Dr. knows it’s coming-start giving them the new card as soon as it comes in. You can find your number-If you lose your card, your providers can find your number in their secured system. The new cards are paper, so you are allowed to make as many copies of your card as you feel necessary. Keep your Medicare Advantage Card-if you’re on a Medicare Advantage Plan, this will still be your main card to use. You can give your doctors your Medicare card for means of cross-referencing. Help is available-If you do not get your card or have any questions…call. Your local SHIIP Program can help. There is a SHIIP Program in all 50 states.  The residents of Brightmore appreciated this conversation focusing on the importance of the 2018 changes & how to protect yourself from Medicare Fraud!

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