1. Medicare card numbers will no longer be based on a person’s Social Security number but will use a randomly generated number.
This is certainly good news on the privacy front, as having your Social Security number stolen by identity thieves is a major concern. However, the new randomly assigned numbers are going to be tough if not impossible to remember.
Here’s a sample of the new cards that will be issued to new beneficiaries and also sent to people who already have Medicare.
It will take a year for everyone to get a new card. From April through June, the new cards will be sent to people in Alaska, American Samoa, California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Guam, Hawaii, Maryland, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. After June, people in other states will begin receiving the new cards.
2. Medicare is beginning in April to expand diabetes education and prevention efforts and will pay all expenses of people who qualify for the program.
According to the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE), here are the eligibility requirements:
- Enrollment in Medicare Part B
- Have a body mass index (BMI) of at least 25, or at least 23 if self-identified as Asian
- Meet one of the following three blood-check requirements within 12 months of the first education session: A1C value between 5.7 and 6.4 percent, or a fasting plasma glucose of 110 – 125 mg/dl or a 2-hour plasma glucose of 140-199 mg/dl
- Have no previous diagnosis of type 1 or type 2 diabetes (other than gestational diabetes)
- Do not have end-stage renal disease (ESRD)
According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 30 million Americans had diabetes in 2016, including 23 million who were diagnosed and another 7 million who were not. About 95 percent of all diabetes is type 2, which often can be controlled or eliminated through changes in diet, weight and exercise.
“Diabetes affects more than 25 percent of Americans aged 65 or older, and its prevalence is projected to increase approximately two-fold for all U.S. adults (ages 18-79) by 2050 if current trends continue,” Medicare reports.
“We estimate that Medicare spent $42 billion more in the single year of 2016 on beneficiaries with diabetes than it would have spent if those beneficiaries did not have diabetes; per-beneficiary, Medicare spent an estimated $1,500 more on Part D prescription drugs, $3,100 more for hospital and facility services, and $2,700 more in physician and other clinical services for those with diabetes than those without diabetes.”
The prevention program, which can last for up to two years, will include education and help with diet, weight-control, and exercise, from suppliers approved by Medicare. It may even pay for transportation and temporary child care expenses for participants who also are caregivers. Your doctor, private Medicare insurer, or Medicare contractor (for those with original Medicare) should have details about program participants. The AADE also has a national directory of its approved diabetes education programs, many of which are or will be suppliers for the expanded Medicare program.
Posted: April 5, 2018