Changes are coming to Medicare IDs

For as long as I have been in the senior-age health insurance business, we have asked our clients to show their Medicare cards. Medicare cards need to be seen by agents for sales of Medicare Supplements, Medicare Advantage, and Prescription Drug Plans. It is the one card that is needed in order to get service by doctors and hospitals for almost any form of senior health care. This card has been a staple of Medicare services for decades, but it’s about to change.

Medicare Cards changing

When and why?

The primary purpose of the change is to combat identity theft. A person’s Medicare ID usually consists of their Social Security Number followed by a letter code. Since a person’s SSN is key to identity thieves, it’s crucial to remove that number from cards.

In 2018 every person 65 and older will be getting a new Medicare number. What I learned at the 2016 National Medicare Supplement Insurance Summit is that it’s possibly going to be an eleven-digit number with a letter in the middle, and that it will come out in waves for different parts of the country.

This will be a huge ordeal for all seniors and since the government is doing it we are sure to see some challenges. Education through letters and television will play a part, but we can and should assist our clients when the time comes. This is another reason why the Medicare beneficiary needs a good agent to navigate through the always-changing scope of healthcare.

Change provides opportunity

I look at this as a positive for professional agents.  Educating your clients on the changes will make you more valuable than ever. This is an opportunity to remind your clients how well  you take care of them.

We’ll be keeping an eye on this topic, and we’ll let you know what we learn as more information will be released in the months to follow.

Happy Selling!
Jeff Sams

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