FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - Medicare recipients will soon receive a new card and Attorney General Andy Beshear is warning them to be aware of a new scam.
The new cards are designed to help minimize fraud by replacing members’ Social Security numbers with 11-digit ID numbers and are triggering scam warnings across the nation. The cards have already been mailed to residents of some states, according to a schedule published by AARP, while Kentuckians will receive their cards sometime after June.
Beshear’s office reports scammers are pretending to be Center for Medicare and Medicaid employees calling enrollees and claiming they need to provide personal and financial information or a payment to receive, replace or activate their new card.
Medicare, the federal health insurance program for American 65 of age or older, was ordered by Congress in 2015 to change the ID number from social security numbers to a new system, and as long as a recipient’s address is up to date, they need do nothing. But if an address has changed, they are urged to contact Medicare immediately.
“I want Kentucky senior citizens to know Medicare will never initiate a call and ask to verify information over the phone,” said Beshear. “If you are contacted by someone claiming to be a Medicare employee asking for information, money or threatening to cancel your health benefits, hang up and report the scam to the federal government at 1-800-MEDICARE.”
This year, Beshear’s Office of Senior Protection and Mediation received reports of Medicare and other insurance scams in Anderson, Boone, Boyle, Gallatin, Jefferson, Jessamine, Kenton, Scott and Spencer counties.
Kenton County Sheriff Charles Korzenborn says there was a scam where a caller claimed they could qualify and enroll a local senior in Medicare.
“After receiving this call, our citizen was suspicious, called Medicare and was assured it was a scam, because Medicare never advises of coverage options via the phone,” said Korzenborn. “This citizen did the right thing by contacting Medicare, our office and Attorney General Beshear’s office to report the call. Thankfully no personal information was exchanged.”
There are 900,000 Medicare enrollees in Kentucky who will be receiving the new cards.