Consumers Corner # 14
MEDICARE CARDS TO
GET NEW IDENTIFIERS
By Jim Murphy
To reduce identity theft, Medicare is replacing Social Security numbers on Medicare cards with randomly generated numbers and uppercase letters.
The new 11-character Medicare Beneficiary Identifier – or MBI – will start showing up on cards in April 2018. Current cards have nine numbers separated by two periods.
Some 57.7 million American beneficiaries and their families are scheduled to receive the new cards by April 2019. A 2015 law requires the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid to remove all Social Security numbers from Medicare cards by that date.
Why the change? Identity theft cases against people 65 or older increased by 24 percent from 2012 to 2014, says the Department of Justice, with 2.6 million incidents recorded in 2014. Removing Social Security numbers should help reduce that number.
Recipients can begin using the new cards as soon as they receive them.
Average amount of time drivers were distracted by phone use before being involved in an auto accident.
Source: EverQuote and Cambridge Mobile Telematics, USA Today.
Number of domestic visitors to the Philadelphia 5-county region in 2016, an all-time high. It was also the seventh year if a row for record visitation.
Source: Visit Philadelphia
8 ½ years
Time that RCB Fund Services LLC has been working to distribute $4 billion in repayments to victims of the Bernie Madoff fraud. As of May 24, 2017, not a single payment had been made.
The company is finalizing reviews and recommendations for 63,580 claims covering $67.8 billion in reported losses, says USA Today. In those eight years, special master Richard Breeden’s company has been paid $38.8 million for its work. Madoff surrendered in December 2008.
Source: USA Today, citing Bloomberg News and records the company received under the Freedom of Information Act.
PHILLY FUN FACT
The Irish Memorial, at the Southeast Corner of Front and Chestnut Streets, is the largest bronze work in Philadelphia. So says the Association of Philadelphia Tour Guides Handbook.
If you haven’t seen this memorial, it is well worth a visit. Sculptor Glenna Goodacre did an extraordinary job creating this piece, which is 12 feet high, 30 feet long and 12 feet wide.
Walk around it and you’ll see the story of the Irish migration in a nutshell: the famine, sickness and starvation; the immigrants leaving Ireland; and finally the weary-but-hopeful travelers stepping onto American soil in Philadelphia.
“3D Social Security Card,” flickr photo by DonkeyHotey https://www.flickr.com/photos/donkeyhotey/5639011991 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license
Jim Murphy is a direct marketing copywriter who has run his own consulting business since 2004. For nine years, he wrote and edited “Choices,” an award-winning credit union magazine with a circulation of 80,000. He also is a certified member of the Association of Philadelphia Tour Guides.
Any comments made are Jim’s opinion, and not necessarily those of the Old Pine Community Center.