Ohio Department of Insurance warns of scam offering new Medicare cards

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) – How closely do you guard your Medicare card?

Scammers are phishing for your Medicare card number, and you might not even know it’s been stolen.

The Ohio Department of Insurance is sounding the alarm about a new tactic from scam artists who are calling Medicard card holders posing as if they’re calling from the Social Security Administration or Medicare, saying you need to be issued a new, plastic card.

They want you to know there are no new Medicare cards.

“What they do is sell that number to somebody who can then bill the Medicare system fraudulently using that number,” said Becky Hayward with the Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program.

So the federal government, and tax payers are being scammed, paying out millions in claims from people who aren’t Medicare patients.

“They could have claims on their account and they may have to face some medical bills of things that might happen. And if they don’t pay attention, they may be saddled with the bill for something that didn’t happen,” she said.

Individuals might not know they’re a victim until they need something themselves.

“Maybe you need a wheelchair, and somebody already ordered a wheelchair fraudulently under your account. And you won’t get that wheelchair,” said Hayward.

Those with access to your Medicare card number may also use it to pose as you and get more personal information, in order to steal your identity.

OSHIIP is warning Medicare card holders to protect their cards and their numbers just like you do your social security numbers, credit card and bank account information.

There aren’t any quantitative numbers on how often this is happening, but OSHIIP hotline calls indicate this is trending upwards.

Starting this month, you’ll start to see reminders on your Medicare summary notices, which is an explanation of your benefits, encouraging people to protect their cards and not to share their numbers.