About 220,000 Medicare beneficiaries getting new numbers after fraud detected

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — UPDATE:

After a press release from the Valley Program for Aging Services issued on Nov. 25 indicated that 220,000 Medicare beneficiaries' card numbers had been compromised in a data breach, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) says there was no data breach.

Instead, they say they took proactive steps to issue new Medicare card numbers for 220,000 people after "recent enforcement actions."

Last year, CMS removed Social Security numbers from all Medicare cards and instead replaced them with a Medicare number they say is more secure.

Due to what appeared to be fraudulent use, CMS is checking all billing for Medicare services and reassigning numbers for 220,000 Medicare beneficiaries due to the detected fraud.

Under the new system, if fraud is detected, beneficiaries' numbers are shut down and they're mailed new cards.

The detected fraud appears to only involve numbers being used to bill Medicare for services that were not received.

Medicare does not call beneficiaries – any call claiming to be from Medicare is a scam. Never give out a Medicare number to anyone calling over the phone, even if they claim to be with Medicare or Social Security.

In response to the CMS enforcement action against fraud, the Valley Program for Aging Services (VPAS) is recommending all Medicare beneficiaries take these actions:

• Open mail with the CMS logo on the envelope; it might contain a new Medicare card.
• If a new Medicare card is received in the mail, call 1-800-MEDICARE (800-633-4627) and confirm that a new Medicare number has been issued.
• Be sure to inform your health care providers of the new Medicare number.
• Check your Explanation of Benefits statements to confirm that the services charged to your Medicare number were actually received by you. Report any suspicious billings to 1-800-MEDICARE.

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Hundreds of thousands of Medicare card numbers were compromised in a data breach.

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), about 220,000 Medicare beneficiaries’ card numbers were compromised by 'an unknown person or organization.'

The CMS says it's unclear how the breach occurred, but that they're working to remedy the situation and keep it from happening again.

They're checking all billing for services to find any fraudulent use, and if they suspect any, the affected Medicare card number will be shut down and a new Medicare number will be issued to the affected person.

A new card will then be mailed out.

The CMS determined that the numbers are only being used to bill Medicare for services that were not received.

In response, the Valley Program for Aging Services (VPAS) is recommending all Medicare beneficiaries take these actions:

• Open mail with the CMS logo on the envelope; it might contain a new Medicare card.
• If a new Medicare card is received in the mail, call 1-800-MEDICARE (800-633-4627) and confirm that a new Medicare number has been issued.
• Be sure to inform your health care providers of the new Medicare number.
• Check your Explanation of Benefits statements to confirm that the services charged to your Medicare number were actually received by you. Report any suspicious billings to 1-800-MEDICARE.

Medicare does not call beneficiaries – any call claiming to be from Medicare is a scam. Never give out a Medicare number to anyone calling over the phone, even if they claim to be with Medicare or Social Security.