Seniors and their families should get help from a Hartford elder law attorney to take steps to protect their assets. Seniors are vulnerable to loss from many sources, from the risk of financial elder abuse to the threat of assets being lost when they pass to new owners after death to the possibility that a senior could end up spending a life savings on costly nursing home care. Nirenstein, Horowitz & Associates can help older people and their loved ones to put an asset protection plan in place that keeps wealth safe from many different potential sources of loss.
Unfortunately, issues like identity theft can also be a big problem for seniors— and the personal information of older Connecticut residents may be misused not only for things like obtaining a credit card but also because seniors have access to Medicare coverage.
When a senior’s Medicare information falls into the wrong hands, someone could get unauthorized care in their name or unscrupulous providers could bill for services that were never provided.
Fortunately, according to NBC Connecticut, there are new efforts underway to protect vulnerable seniors from losses or damage due to Medicare identity theft.
Medicare Cards are Being Changed to Fight Senior Identity Theft
NBC Connecticut reported that Medicare cards are being changed so seniors will be at reduced risk of identity theft. Currently, seniors throughout the United States have Medicare cards that have their Social Security number on them. This means if a Medicare card is lost or falls into the wrong hands, not only could someone improperly use it to get care, but the thief who has the card could also commit all different kinds of identity theft against the vulnerable senior.
The Medicare chief Seema Verma explained the importance of the change, indicating that seniors aged 65 and older are increasingly being targeted for medical identity theft. She indicated that Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is committed to helping fight fraud. The issuance of new Medicare cards without a social security number is a key step in this process.
Instead of having a Social Security number on them, Medicare cards will now have a unique new number to identify the senior. This is not as simple of a process as it sounds, because there are 58 million Medicare beneficiaries and they all need to be able to get care at a tremendous number of different healthcare providers including hospitals, doctors, and pharmacies.
State governments and insurance companies will also need to make changes and updates when the numbers change and senior Medicare beneficiaries are no longer identified by their Social Security number on their Medicare cards.
To help facilitate the change, Medicare has set up a website called www.cms.gov/newcard. The website provides information and advice on the transition process. Medicare is also running ads alerting beneficiaries to the changes that are coming so seniors and care providers will be aware of the shift to new cards.
Seniors who are on Medicare will receive their new cards automatically in the mail and do not need to do anything special to get the cards or to activate them. They will be able to begin using their new cards immediately and they will be told to destroy the old cards with their Social Security numbers on them as soon as the new cards arrive to them. Seniors should be aware that this could be a prime time for scams, as thieves may call and try to trick older consumers into “paying” for their new card.
Getting Help from a Hartford Elder Law Attorney
A Hartford elder law attorney at Nirenstein, Horowitz & Associates will assist seniors in taking steps to fight identity theft and will assist with other asset protection issues. To find out more about how our compassionate and knowledgeable legal team can assist you in taking steps to protect the money and property you have worked hard to acquire during the course of your lifetime, join us for a free seminar.
You can also give us a call at 860-548-1000 or contact us online to to get personalized help with putting an asset protection in place that is appropriate for your age, assets, and family situation. Give us a call today to get your plan started.