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New Medicare cards, designed to be more secure, on their way to Maryland residents

Medicare recipients in Maryland should be receiving new Medicare cards designed to increase security and help prevent fraud, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said.

The new cards no longer contain social security numbers. Instead, they include randomly assigned Medicare numbers. The changes are designed to protect Medicare patients from fraud and make it harder for criminals to bill for services and benefits that were never performed.

Maryland has about 997,784 Medicare beneficiaries, including those on original Medicare and those enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, CMS said.

The center began mailing updated cards to new recipients in April in a region that includes Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, then moved on to current beneficiaries in that region. Cards are still being mailed out in the region, the first area in the U.S. to get the new cards. Mailings to the rest of the U.S. should be completed over the next year.

New cards, which are free, were designed as part of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015. Patients are being advised to destroy old cards once they get the replacements. The cards have no impact on program benefits and services.

Information about when new cards will be mailed to specific areas is available at medicare.gov/newcard.

lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com

twitter.com/lmirabella

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