More than 50 million Medicare beneficiaries will receive a new Medicare card through a series of mailings beginning April 1.

More than 50 million Medicare beneficiaries will receive a new Medicare card through a series of mailings beginning April 1. The new Medicare cards will replace Social Security numbers with a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier made up of letters and numbers.

The new cards will be mailed in waves, with Missouri Medicare beneficiaries receiving their new cards after June.

Carol Beahan, program director for CLAIM, the state’s health insurance assistance program, said CMS is providing the new cards to protect beneficiaries from fraudulent use of Social Security numbers, which can lead to identity theft and illegal use of Medicare benefits. CLAIM staff and volunteers can provide free assistance to help you put the Medicare pieces together on topics such as enrollment, billing, Part D prescription drug coverage, wellness, and preventative services.

For more information about the new Medicare cards or other Medicare matters, you can reach CLAIM at 1-800-390-3330.

While watching their mail for the new cards, seniors also should be alert that scammers are getting creative with ways to get money or personal information from Medicare beneficiaries, Beahan said.

One scam reported recently in the media centered on phone calls that attempted to make seniors pay money to receive their new card early. Another scam asks seniors to mail in their old card before they can get their replacement card. Beahan warned that falling for that scheme opens the door for identity theft.

CLAIM is a program of the Missouri Department of Insurance through a grant from the Administration for Community Living. Services are provided by Primaris Foundation. CLAIM is not connected or affiliated with any insurance company and does not sell or recommend any insurance.  Claim provides helpful Medicare information. To ask questions or to learn more about Medicare benefits and eligibility and enrollment contact CLAIM at 1-800-390-3330 or visit www.missouriclaim.org. Individuals contacting CLAIM will be contacted by a trained counselor.