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The Tidelands Health Newsroom

Published on March 28, 2018

New Medicare cards coming to 113,000 beneficiaries in our region

Tidelands Health is encouraging the 113,000 Medicare beneficiaries in our region to immediately begin using their new Medicare cards upon receipt.

Starting in April 2018 and continuing through April 2019, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will begin mailing new Medicare cards to beneficiaries across the country. The primary goal of the new cards is to help protect beneficiaries’ identities by replacing the Social Security-based Health Insurance Claim Number on the cards with a unique, randomly assigned 11-digit Medicare Beneficiary Identifier. Example of new Medicare card

Under the current mailing schedule, beneficiaries in South Carolina will not receive the cards until at least June. Once new cards are received, beneficiaries can destroy their old card and can immediately begin using the new one.

“There will be an extended period of time when care providers can accept both new and old cards, but it’s best to begin using the new cards immediately,” said Linda Bonesteel, director of community health resources at Tidelands Health. “Transitioning upon receipt gives you the benefit of improved identify-theft protection and helps ensure care providers have accurate billing information on file when the old cards become obsolete.”

The new Medicare cards do not affect an individual’s benefits, and the coverage dates printed on the cards will not change. Individuals should expect to receive cards at different times than friends, neighbors and family members.

Because the new cards will be mailed, Bonesteel said Medicare beneficiaries should confirm their address is up to date by calling the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 or by visiting https://ssa.gov/myaccount.

In concert with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Bonesteel also reminded enrollees to be extremely careful if anyone contacts them about the new cards.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will never ask an individual to provide personal or private information to obtain a new card. If someone asks for private information, for money or threatens to cancel your health benefits, halt the conversation and immediately call 1-800-633-4227.

Individuals should only offer the new Medicare number to health care providers, pharmacists, insurers and other individuals and organizations the individual trusts to work with Medicare on the person’s behalf.

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Tidelands Health is the largest health care provider in Georgetown, Horry and Williamsburg counties. With three hospitals and more than 50 outpatient locations that stretch from Andrews to North Myrtle Beach, Tidelands Health is helping people across the Tidelands region live better lives through better health.