Questions and Answers
- Is Medicare giving everyone a new random number or just the people turning 65 after this year?
- Yes, everyone who currently has Medicare will be getting a new number and card. This is being done to remove people’s Social Security numbers from the cards to better protect against identity theft. The randomly assigned numbers will be a combination of numerals and upper case letters. The new cards will begin rolling out in April 2018 through April 2019. It will take a while for so many cards to be distributed nationwide, so don’t be worried if your friend or relative gets their card before you do. Your current Medicare card will remain your active card until your new one arrives.
Everyone’s new Medicare number will be unique so individuals who used to have their spouses’ or parents’ number on their card, with just a different letter at the end of the number, will now have a completely different number from anyone else. Nothing else changes and your Medicare coverage and benefits remain the same.
The only thing you need to do to get your new Medicare card is make sure your mailing address is correct and up-to-date with Social Security. Be mindful of scams trying to take advantage of these upcoming changes! No one will call you about getting a new card and neither Medicare nor Social Security will ever contact you requesting that you verify your current information in order to get your new card. If anyone calls requesting such information, hang up!
For more information or to check out the new card design, go to www.cms.gov/newcard
Remember to check your Part D drug plan during open enrollment, October 15th through December 7th!
Medicare open enrollment runs from October 15 to December 7 during which you can review your current prescription drug plan, or your Medicare Advantage plan, and compare it to others to see what your best option is for the upcoming calendar year. You can do this by going online to Medicare.gov and clicking on “Find Health and Drug Plans.” If you don’t have computer access or aren’t comfortable going online, The Area Agency on Aging (AAA) has counselors certified by the Michigan Medicare/Medicaid Assistance Program (MMAP) who are available to assist in objectively reviewing your current Medicare plan and comparing other Medicare drug plan choices. This service is free and confidential.
It is a good idea to double-check your options every year because so many variables can impact the cost of your coverage, such as cost of individual drugs and whether your plan still covers all the drugs you take. If you would like to make an appointment during open enrollment, you can call the AAA’s main office line, after October 1, at 269-983-0177. There are counselors in other locations in Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren counties, as well as AAA’s office, so we can help you find a counselor near you.