New Medicare Numbers Coming – Starting 2018


We at Bridlewood have been telling clients for years, that if you have an Medicare Advantage plan, put your Medicare card in a safe place - at HOME! That’s because, as most of you know, your Medicare card uses your Social Security number followed by a letter to identify you. This presents a real threat to your identity if the card is ever lost or stolen. In the past, if you have a Medicare Supplement plan, you had to present both cards to your doctors office for billing purposes. That is all about to change . . .

Medicare is preparing to stop using Social Security numbers for identification next year and will send new cards to patients with Medicare ID numbers. The move is required by a law enacted two years ago to discourage identity theft.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently updated its web page to help health care providers prepare for the change. The agency plans to begin mailing the new cards with Medicare beneficiary identifiers (MBIs) in April 2018. During a transition period through 2019, providers can use the MBIs or health insurance claim numbers (which are based on Social Security numbers) on transactions such as billing and claims.

The 2015 law, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, requires CMS to remove Social Security numbers from Medicare cards by April 2019.

“We're now figuring out the best way to mail the cards,” the agency advised providers. “We'll keep you posted about critical information so you can be ready to ask your Medicare patients at the time of service if they have a new card with an MBI.”

CMS plans a “wide-scale outreach” to let beneficiaries know that they need to bring their new Medicare cards when they get care and how to get MBIs if they lose their cards.

AARP’s Fraud Watch Network ambassador, Frank Abagnale, advises consumers not to share Social Security numbers unnecessarily. “And don’t carry your Medicare card unless you are on your way to a health care appointment,” he wrote last year. “Instead, make a copy and black out all but the last four digits.” The new Medicare cards using a random set of numbers, will eliminate the need to take such safeguards, and provide seniors peace of mind that they won’t need to worry about this threat to their identity any longer.

Bridlewood Members Get Discounted Hearing Aids


Hearing loss is one of the most chronic conditions in seniors in the US. It affects more than nine million Americans between the ages of 45 and 64. Three out of five seniors, and 6 out of 7 middle-aged Americans with hearing loss, do not use hearing aids. There are many reasons people will not get tested or wear hearing aids: denial that there is a problem, vanity, and ex-pense are just a few.

In a recent John Hopkins study, it was determined that if a person has mild hearing loss they have 2 times the risk of developing dementia. With moderate hearing loss that risk rises to 3 times, and with severe hearing loss they have 5 times the risk!

The average hearing aid costs $2,000 per device, or $4,000 a pair. This is most often the main reason people will not get them. Because Bridlewood is concerned with all aspects of our client’s health, we have negotiated with a terrific local audiologist to bring special pricing and service to our members. Dr. Ken Podlenski is a doctor of audiology (AuD), with over 20 years serving the San Diego area. His pricing includes the hearing aid devices, follow-up visits for fine-tuning, hearing tests and walk-in services for 3 years (at no additional cost).

The “Bridlewood Prices” are as follows:

* Behind the Ear Hearing Aids—$799/device or $1,598/set.
* Power Hearing Aids—$879/device or $1,758/set.
* Custom Hearing Aids—$999/device or $1,998/set.

If you have an interest in learning more about the hearing aids, or would like to schedule an appointment, please call Dr. Ken Podlenski at (858) 674-1910. They are located in the Carmel Mountain Ranch area at: 12396 World Trade Drive, Suite 205.

And be sure to tell him you are a Bridlewood Member!