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July 2017
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Opinion
by U.S. Senator Dean Heller

New Medicare Cards Will Protect Against Fraud

 U.S. Senator Dean Heller
U.S. Senator Dean Heller

Throughout my time in Congress, I have been a strong supporter of the Medicare program and voted to prevent more than half a trillion dollars in Medicare cuts. I’ve also opposed changes to Medicare that would impact current and nearretirees because I believe these programs were promised to Nevadans and that promise must be kept. As your United States Senator, I want to ensure all of Nevada’s Medicare recipients are aware of upcoming changes to their Medicare cards that will help protect identities and reduce fraud in the system. Earlier this year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), in compliance with the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), announced that it will be removing Social Security numbers from Medicare cards and start issuing new cards to recipients in 2018. Identity theft is a growing concern among senior citizens, and this new initiative will better protect those on Medicare from facing stolen Social Security numbers and fraud.

In a statement that went along with their announcement, CMS Administrator Seema Verma said, “We’re taking this step to protect our seniors from fraudulent use of Social Security numbers which can lead to identity theft and illegal use of Medicare benefits.”

 

I echo this position and believe these reforms will protect Nevada seniors from fraud. With my own mother depending on Medicare benefits, I understand how important these benefits are and furthermore – how important it is that an individual is not exposed to identity theft just because he or she is accessing these benefits. That’s why I voted in support of requiring CMS to take the appropriate steps to remove Social Security numbers from Medicare cards and pressed CMS on its timeline to do just that. As a member on the Senate Finance Committee which has jurisdiction over Medicare policy, I will continue to closely monitor these issues and continue to preserve and protect Medicare for current and future retirees.

Because Medicare is a critical program to many Nevada seniors just like my mom, I believe it’s important that all beneficiaries stay informed about changes to the program. To access additional information about the upcoming changes to Medicare benefits, visit: www.cms.gov/medicare/ ssnri. You can also call 1800MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) for questions about these changes or other questions relating to Medicare benefits.

In closing, my office is here to assist you and answer any questions about Medicare as well as other programs ranging from Social Security Benefits and VA benefits. To reach my Reno office, please call (775) 686-5770 or you can also visit my website at www.heller.senate.gov.