Guard your card: How to protect your Medicare card

This post was originally published on this site. Reprinted with permission.

Protect yourself by protecting your Medicare card!  

The next Medicare Open Enrollment Period (October 15 – December 7) is coming fast, which means con artists may try to steal your identity and commit Medicare fraud. Medicare has taken actions to make Medicare cards safer by replacing Social Security Numbers with more secure ID numbers. But even with those efforts, fraudsters may still try to take advantage of you during Open Enrollment. 

Medicare fraud results in higher health care costs for taxpayers just like you. That’s why it’s so important to know how to protect your Medicare card and Number.

What can you do to protect yourself and prevent Medicare fraud?

The most important thing you can do is guard your Medicare card like it’s a credit card. Don’t give your Medicare card or Number to anyone except your doctor or people you know should have it.

You can also:

  • Keep your Medicare Number to yourself. If you get a call from people promising you things if you give them your Medicare Number — don’t do it. This is a common Medicare scam.
  • Refuse any offer of money or gifts for free medical care. A common ploy of identity thieves is to say they can send you your free gift right away — they just need your Medicare Number.
  • Use a calendar to record all of your doctors’ appointments and any tests you get. When you check your Medicare statements, look out for any items and services listed and other details that don’t look correct. If you see a charge or service that you think is incorrect and you know the provider, call their office and ask about it.
  • Learn how a Medicare plan works before you join.
  • Stay alert for fraud during the coronavirus disease 2019 (or COVID-19) national emergency. Con artists like to take advantage of people when they’re distracted.

Committing Medicare fraud is illegal & you should report it

If you suspect fraud, call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users can call 1-877-486-2048. If you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare drug plan, call the Medicare Drug Integrity Contractor (MEDIC) at 1-877-7SAFERX (1-877-772-3379).

Learn how to protect yourself from health care fraud. Visit Medicare.gov/fraud for more information on how to help fight Medicare fraud.