New Medicare Cards Leave Many Confused

As reprinted from the AARP Bulletin June 2018

As Medicare begins to mail new ID cards to its 60 million members, more than three-quarters of them know little or nothing about the initiative to use newly assigned ID numbers in place of their Social Security number as their identification, a new AARP survey reveals.


In addition, 6 in 10 believe they might have to pay for the new card (they don’t), according to the survey. That belief could make them vulnerable to scam artists.


In April, individuals new to Medicare began receiving the updated card, which displays a unique combination of 11 letters and numbers, rather than a beneficiary’s SSN. Replacing cards for current beneficiaries is a yearlong process that began in May. (To learn more about when your card will arrive, go to


The new Medicare cards are a step forward for fraud prevention, but con artists are working overtime on new way to scam seniors,” says Nancy LeMond, AARP’s chief advocacy and engagement officer.


Scammers posing as Medicare representatives are already calling beneficiaries demanding a processing fee. Other fraudsters are telling beneficiaries that they are owed a refund from transactions on their old card and then asking for bank account information to process the reimbursement. Medicare will never ask an enrollee for a bank account number, and no refunds are owed.