Arkansas Insurance Commissioner Allen Kerr alerted Arkansas Medicare beneficiaries that new cards will be arriving this week in the mail and encourages Arkansans to protect themselves from scammers.


“The new Medicare cards no longer contain Social Security Numbers in order to better protect Arkansas beneficiaries from identity theft,” Kerr said in a news release Tuesday. “There are no fees for the new cards and there is no reason for anyone to call you over the phone to verify any information. AID’s Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) is ready to serve Arkansans as a trusted, local source to answer any questions about the new cards and protect citizens from scammers.”


Kerr offered these tips for Arkansans once they receive their new Medicare cards:


• When the new card arrives, destroy the old card, throw it away and start using the new one immediately.


• The new Medicare number is unique to the resident.


• Guard the card’s information. Only provide the new number to health care providers, insurers, or people who can be trusted. Health care providers know the new cards are coming.


• Keep the Medicare Advantage Card.


Arkansans with questions about their Medicare benefits can visit the SHIIP page online at https://insurance.arkansas.gov/pages/consumer-services/senior-health/ or call 800-224-6330.


Kerr reminds Arkansas Medicare beneficiaries that the new cards are free and that no one from Medicare or other government agencies will ever ask for their personal information over the phone.


“If someone calls claiming they need your new Medicare number to collect a fee, update your account, get a new card, or send Medicare benefit information, hang up immediately as it is a scam,” Kerr said. “If you need help with Medicare, contact the Arkansas SHIIP office at 1-800-224-6330, or call Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE.”


For more information on the Arkansas Insurance Department, visit http://insurance.arkansas.gov, follow them on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ARInsuranceDept and Facebook at http://facebook.com/ArkansasInsuranceDepartment.