SMITH CENTER, Kan. – Smith County Memorial Hospital reminds patients to bring their new Medicare card to their next hospital or clinic visit.
“Our patient accounts department needs to have the new cards on file to submit claims,” said Allen Van Driel, CEO of SCMH. “Starting Jan. 1, Medicare will no longer process claims submitted using the old cards.”
In April 2018, Medicare began issuing replacement cards to help combat identity theft. Original Medicare cards used a patient’s social security number as their account number. Replacement cards include a unique, 11-digit Medicare Number.
Phone scammers are known for preying on Medicare users to get personal information. The update is meant to help cut back on scams by not associating a person’s social security number with their Medicare account.
“Anyone receiving Medicare can give a long list of scam phone calls meant to cause havoc on healthcare bills, social security payments or bank accounts,” Van Driel said.
While Medicare finished issuing replacement cards in the spring, a six-month transition period was provided to bring patients’ records up-to-date. This allowed medical facilities an opportunity to see patients and update their records before new billing processes go into effect.
“The transition period ended on Dec. 31, and there are likely patients who have not been to the clinic or hospital for an appointment,” Van Driel said. “We hope that as patients come in, they bring their cards so we can ensure claims will be processed correctly.”
New Medicare cards do not replace Medicare Advantage or prescription plan cards. These plans are administered through private insurance companies and patients need to present these cards along with their Medicare card when they receive care or fill prescriptions.
“It’s always a good rule of thumb to bring insurance cards with you to each appointment,” Van Driel said. “It is easy to forget the last time you presented a card or the last time your insurance changed. Bringing your card with you will save you time sorting out billing and claims. This is true for any insurance–not just Medicare.”
The registration staff at the hospital and clinic will ask patients for insurance cards and a driver’s license to verify they have the correct plan information and address on file.
Patients with an old Medicare card on file will be billed for services in full rather than submitting claims to the provider. Anyone who has not received their replacement card should contact Medicare by calling 1-800-MEDICARE or by signing into MyMedicare.gov.
As a reminder, Medicare will never contact an individual for a Medicare Number or other personal information unless advance permission has been given. Medicare will not make sales calls or enroll a person over the phone unless the individual has called first. Never give personal information including a Medicare Number to someone who calls or visits your home.
Patients are reminded to review their claims and Medicare Summary Notices regularly for any services or claims you don’t recognize. Report fraudulent activity by calling Medicare at the number above.