When you get your new Medicare card, destroy your old red-white-and-blue Medicare card, but do not destroy your Social Security card, Medicare Advantage plan card, or drug plan cards. If you belong to a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medicare drug plan (Part D), continue to use these cards when you get health care services or fill a prescription. Dispose of your old Medicare card carefully, as it contains Personally Identifiable Information (PII) that can be used for identity theft. Your dialysis facility will probably have a shredder if you don’t. New Medicare Cards, and your Medicare Beneficiary Identifier on it, are also confidential PII that should be closely guarded.
New Medicare cards have been mailed to all Network 16 and 18 patients. If you haven’t received yours, call 1-800-MEDICARE. Call center representatives can check the status and help you get your new card. Meanwhile, use your current Medicare card to get health care services. While your old card will be good through the end of 2019, you want to get and use your new card as soon as you can.
CMS has published information about helping patients avoid fraud and scams, which may be particularly important with the release of the New Medicare Cards.
Medicare will never call beneficiaries uninvited and ask for personal or private information to get their new Medicare Number and card. Scam artists may try to get personal information (like their current Medicare Number) by contacting them about their new card. If your Medicare patient is asked for their information, for money, or someone threatens to cancel their health benefits if they don’t share their personal information, have them call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).
The Kidney & Urology Foundation of America offers a number of different kinds of scholarships and cash awards to kidney patients in various circumstances. This year’s application submission deadline for all awards is May 18, 2018. For information see http://www.kidneyurology.org/Patient_Resources/scholarships.php.
Kidney Care Partners (https://www.pr.com/press-release/744275) has summarized the ESRD-related provisions of the new budget law, H.R.1892 – Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018; the Act “will expand the use of home dialysis therapy through use of telehealth services; expedite patient access to quality dialysis care at newly certified facilities; and extend authority for Special Needs Plans (C-SNPs) without interruption in care.” In addition, payments for non-emergency ambulance use are reduced.
While the legislation as passed and signed may not be effective until HHS converts it to administrative law, the original lawyerese can be found at: