Congress has listened to the concerns of older adults, clinics, pharmacies, and organizations such as AARP. Medicare cards have been redesigned to make it harder for con artists to steal your identity.


The new Medicare cards will not show your Social Security number, your gender, or your signature. Instead, each person will be randomly assigned a Medicare beneficiary number with a mix of 11 numbers and letters. You can see the new design in the 2018 Medicare and You Handbook, which the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services mailed out during September, or online at www.cms.gov/medicare/new-medicare-card/nmc-home.html.


The new Medicare cards will be mailed beginning April 1, 2018. You don’t have to request a new card, and it is free.


Beware that con artists are already trying to cheat Medicare members. At least three scams are being used.


1. Someone phones and asks for your current Medicare number and bank information so you can get your new card.


2. You’re being threatened you’ll lose your benefits if you don’t pay for a new card.


3. Someone asks you to turn in your old card.


More information will be coming soon. Watch the news and go online to the address above.