The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
that about 220,000 Medicare beneficiaries’ card numbers have been compromised by an unknown person or organization. It is unknown how this data breach occurred, but CMS is taking steps to remedy the situation and prevent its re-occurrence in the future.
CMS is checking all billing for services for what appears to be fraudulent use. If fraud is suspected, the Medicare card number is shut down and the beneficiary is issued a new Medicare number and mailed a new card. It appears that these numbers are only being used to bill Medicare for services that were not received.
Until then, advocates for seniors suggest that recipients:
- Open any mail they receive from CMS, as it may contain a new Medicare card with a new number;
- Call 1-800-MEDICARE upon receiving a new Medicare card to confirm that you have indeed been issued a new card (this means that your old number was probably compromised);
- Bring your new card to all of your appointments so your providers will be aware that you have been issued a new number;
- Check your Explanation of Benefits statements closely to make sure they reflect the services you have received;
- Report any suspicious billing to 1-800-MEDICARE; and
- Remember that Medicare does not call you—you call them. If you receive a call from “Medicare” or CMS, it is a scam.
The majority of beneficiaries should have received their new cards by the end of last week. This should not impact their access to care or ability to enroll in Medicare plans during Open Enrollment. People who have concerns or experience a problem should call 1-800-MEDICARE for assistance.