The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is mailing new Medicare cards to protect the safety and security of people with Medicare benefits. The new Medicare cards no longer contain a person’s Social Security number, but rather a unique, randomly-assigned Medicare number that protects the identities of people with Medicare reduces fraud and offers better safeguards of important health and financial information.
“Removing Social Security numbers from Medicare cards is one of the many ways CMS is committed to putting patients first and improving the consumer healthcare experience,” said Jeff Hinson, Regional Administrator for Regions 7 and 8. “This change not only protects Medicare patients from fraud, but also safeguards taxpayer dollars by making it harder for criminals to use Social Security numbers to falsely bill Medicare for care services and benefits that were never performed.”
Work on this important initiative was made possible by the enactment of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA).
CMS began mailing the new Medicare cards to people who currently have Medicare benefits in Kansas this week. Additionally, people who are new to Medicare in Kansas started to receive their new Medicare cards in April along with others across the country when the mailing first began. As soon as people receive their new Medicare card, they should safely and securely destroy their old Medicare card and keep their new Medicare number confidential. Our current mailing strategy allows us to complete the mailings of new cards to all people with Medicare, both new and current enrollees, over the next year.
The new Medicare card will not change any of the program benefits and services that eligible people enrolled in Medicare receive. People with Medicare and their caregivers can visit medicare.gov/newcard to find out when new Medicare cards will be mailed to their area. They can also sign up for email notifications about the new card mailing and check the status in their state.
Healthcare providers, suppliers and people with Medicare will be able to use secure look up tools that allow quick access to the new Medicare numbers when needed. There will also be a 21-month transition period for healthcare providers and suppliers to use either the former Social Security-based Medicare number or the new Medicare number to ensure a seamless transition.
As the new Medicare cards are being mailed, people with Medicare should look out for scams and follow these tips:
- Medicare will never contact you for your Medicare number or other personal information so you can obtain your new Medicare card.
- Don’t pay for your new Medicare card. It’s free. If anyone calls or approaches you and says you need to pay for it, that’s a scam.
- Guard your card. When you get your new card, safeguard it like you would health insurance or credit cards.
- Only give your new Medicare Number to doctors, pharmacists, other health care providers, your insurers, or people you trust to work with Medicare on your behalf.
For more information including press materials, B-roll, PSAs, etc. please visit: https://www.multivu.com/players/English/8277951-cmsnmc/
August 9-10, 2018
Ramada Inn, Topeka, KS
The 14th Kansas Disability Caucus will be held in Topeka, KS on August 9th and 10th, 2018. People with all types of disabilities, of all ages, representing every county of the State, are invited to attend. The purpose of the Kansas Disability Caucus is to provide opportunities for Kansans with disabilities to learn, share, and provide solutions to issues faced by the disability community. Click here for the flyer.
It is time to ask for nominations for the Michel Lechner Advocacy Award.
The deadline for nominations is July 31st.
Every year the Kansas Commission on Disability Concerns (KCDC) recognizing one or more persons or organizations for their advocacy work to improve their community or the State of Kansas for people with disabilities. To nominate someone or an organization you need to provide a summary of the nominee’s advocacy activities including: the issue/situation; nominee’s activities that improved the condition or situation; and the geographic area of Kansas in which the improvement occurred. It also helps to have a support letter from someone else praising the nominees advocacy efforts.
You can read more about it on their website.
Members of Congress are back home this week for recess, so it’s the perfect time to meet with them about the Disability Integration Act (DIA)! If your Senators or Representative have still not signed on to the DIA, take action over the recess by urging them to become a cosponsor!
The Disability Integration Act (S. 910 and H.R. 2472) is a critical bill that would reverse the institutional bias and help disabled people stay in our homes and communities. The DIA is the next logical step in our fight for disability rights and the only piece of legislation that will protect our community from institutionalization. We need ALL of our Members of Congress to support the DIA!
We know the disability community has the power to make things happen, and every meeting, email, call, and action counts. Use this recess to educate your Senators and Representative on the DIA and urge them to become a cosponsor! Tell them that living in our own communities and making choices about our lives is our right, and as our elected officials, it’s their responsibility to protect that!
Learn more about the DIA at www.disabilityintegrationact.org.
by Andy Rausch and Joe Reinecker
SMILE is a new positive behavior support system SKIL has developed recently. SMILE is an acronym that stands for Successful Manageable Inclusion Leadership and Encouraging. The concept was first brought to CEO Shari Coatney's attention by SKIL Special Projects Coordinator John Stacy Denham, who had read about Fortune 500 companies adopting similar programs.
“I had originally talked to Shari Coatney about setting it up with the kid's program, and when she heard about the positive behavior support I was interested in putting together for that, she thought that was something we could do system-wide, completely across the board,” explains Denham.
“Basically what it does is it sets up positive behaviors you want to see and it rewards people for that as opposed to coming down on people for breaking the rules.” The concept behind SMILE is that it establishes a shared language and verbiage that all customers and employees at SKIL can use. For example, Information and Referral Specialist Heather House recently coined the term SKILsters for customers and representatives, and the term has since caught on.
The idea behind SMILE is to enforce inclusion and to make everyone feel they are part of a collective family at SKIL. According to Denham, the introductory SMILE project was handing out little cut-out smiley faces to people who were smiling as an attempt to reward desirable behavior.