Retirement & Financial Planning Report

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has said it has finished issuing new Medicare cards without Social Security numbers, an effort to better protect personal identity and reduce fraud and abuse as ordered by a 2015 law.

“Over the past nine months, CMS sent new cards to more than 61 million people with Medicare across all U.S. states and territories, completing the mailing ahead of schedule,” an announcement said. “These new cards will not only be easier for beneficiaries, but also provide the Medicare program with essential protections due to the new unique identifier on the cards.”

Instead of Social Security numbers, each card includes a unique, randomly assigned combination of letters and numbers called a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier.

The CMS advises that any Medicare enrollees who did not receive a new card should call (800)-MEDICARE or visit or create their personal account at mymedicare.gov. For immediate purposes, it adds, a healthcare provider may be able to retrieve the number through a provider’s portal.

It further advises enrollees to carry and use only the new cards and to destroy the old ones (Medicare Advantage and Medicare drug plan enrollees should keep and continue to use those cards, however). “Only give the new Medicare number to doctors, pharmacists, other healthcare providers, insurers, or people you trust to work with Medicare on your behalf. Medicare will never call uninvited for your Medicare number or other personal information,” it adds.