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  • Medicare Experience

All About Your Medicare Card

When it arrives and how to use, protect, update, and replace it.
Medicare card and doctor holding stethoscope

Once enrolled in Medicare, you'll receive your Medicare card in the mail.


This is an important card that you will need for reference and use from time to time, so be sure to keep it in a safe place.


When you visit the Doctor’s office or hospital, you will present your card to show that you have insurance and help insure an accurate billing process.


Here, we’ll cover several aspects of your card, including receipt and use scenarios. You'll also learn how to update, replace, and protect your card.



Topics Covered:

  • What Does the Medicare Card Include?

  • The New Medicare Card

  • When Will I Receive My Medicare Card?

  • Using Your Medicare Card

  • How Do I Replace My Medicare Card?

  • How Do I Change Information on My Medicare Card?

  • Protecting Against Medicare Card Scams




What Does the Medicare Card Include?


Your Medicare card is paper material (not plastic) and colored red, white, and blue. It will resemble the image represented here:


Medicare card sample

Your card will also include:

  • A Medicare ID number unique to you.

  • Whether you have Part A coverage, Part B coverage, or both.

  • The date your coverage begins.

  • A contact number for the Medicare help line.



The New Medicare Card


From April 2018 – April 2019, Medicare mailed new cards to enrollees. The new cards removed Social Security numbers for improved security and identity protection with the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier number taking its place.


Each number is unique to the enrollee and still listed under “Medicare Claim Number” on your card.


As of April, Medicare has finished mailing out all the new cards to beneficiaries. Your old card can still be used until January 1, 2020.


So, if you haven’t already you will need to switch to your new card at the start of next year. If you never received a new card, be sure to contact a Medicare representative as soon as possible.


Phone: 1-800-Medicare (1-800-633-4227)



When Will I Receive My Medicare Card?

If you're already receiving benefits from Social Security, then you will receive your Medicare card in the mail 3 months before your 65th birthday. There’s no need further effort required on your end.


If this doesn’t apply to you, then you will receive your card once you enroll in Medicare. In general, people receive their Medicare card in the following month after signing up.


If you didn’t receive your Medicare card by your 65th birthday, or feel like you should have received it by this point since your enrollment, contact Medicare at: 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).


An official can inform you of its status, or if there is a problem that is holding it up.



Using Your Medicare Card

You will use your Medicare card whenever you visit a doctor, hospital, or healthcare provider. Be sure to provide them your card during these visits so that they can accurately submit your medical bills to Medicare for payment.


It is smart practice to always carry your card with you whenever you leave the house. You never know when you might need to present this information, such as in an emergency.


If you forget your card, however, your healthcare provider might be able to look up your Medicare ID number online.


If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C) or have supplemental insurance you will be mailed a separate membership card.


You will need to provide that card alongside your Medicare card. This will allow your healthcare provider to bill your supplemental plan for the out-of-pocket costs.



If you're enrolled in Medicare Advantage (HMO, PPO, PFFS)…


You will use your separate Medicare Advantage plan card (instead of your Medicare card) whenever you visit your doctor, hospital, or healthcare provider.


This will serve as your main card. If your plan covers prescription drug coverage, you will also use this card at the pharmacy.


However, be sure to keep your Original Medicare card handy. You may on occasion be asked to provide this information, as well.



If you're enrolled in a Part D plan…


You will use your separate Part D plan (not your Medicare card) at the pharmacy.


This card will allow you to get your prescriptions filled, because Original Medicare does not cover prescription drug costs.



If you have a Medigap plan...


You will provide your separate Medigap plan card alongside your Medicare card to your healthcare providers.


This card will help to cover copayments and other out-of-pocket costs that your Original Medicare does not cover.



How Do I Change Information on My Medicare Card?

If you need to update your card information, you can do so online through your Social Security account. It's always good practice to keep your mailing address up-to-date so you don’t miss any updates.


Medicare uses the information from your Social Security file for your card. So, if you need to update your name or address, you can update the information in your Social Security account here:

  • ssa.gov/myaccount

  • Social Security: 1-800-772-1213

  • TTY Users: 1-800-325-0778



How Do I Replace My Medicare Card?

If you lose or damage your Medicare card, you can replace it by visiting your MyMedicare.gov account. Through your account you can print an official copy of your card.


If you don’t already have an account, you can set one up at this time to print your replacement.


However, if you don’t have access to an online account or are unable to print a copy, you can call Medicare for a replacement:


1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227)

TTY Users: 1-877-486-2048


Your replacement card should arrive within 30 days. It will be mailed to the address you have on file with Social Security, so be sure this information is up-to-date. If you don’t receive your replacement card by this time, contact Medicare to address any problems.



Protecting Against Medicare Card Scams

First and foremost, be aware of anyone that contacts you about your Medicare information. Medicare never conducts uninvited calls in which they ask for your personal information.


If you find yourself in such a situation, it is likely a scam. Hang up immediately and contact Medicare to report the incident: 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).


Just to repeat this important point…


There is never a scenario in which you should give out your personal or private information over the phone.


This includes your Medicare information, banking information, or anything else that reveals sensitive details.


If you’re ever unsure about a caller claiming to be from Medicare or another provider, offer to call them back. You can look up the number yourself from a trusted resource.


If the call is legitimate, the organization will be able to put you back in contact with your caller.


If you offer to do this and the caller gives an excuse as to why this wouldn’t work (i.e. it is time sensitive, works at a different department, etc.), the call is a scam.


If a caller ever starts to make demands of you for information, or threatens punishment, penalty, fines, or other repercussions, hang up immediately. The call is a scam. No healthcare or insurance provider ever behaves in this manner.


Some protective steps have been taken in recently to secure your personal information. The new Medicare card uses a unique Medicare ID number in place of your Social Security number.


If you want to be vigilant in protecting your identity, treat your Medicare card and ID number as you would your Social Security number, credit or debit card, or other bank account information.


Be cautious and careful with whom you share it. The only people you should provide your Medicare information are your doctor, pharmacist, healthcare provider, insurance provider, or a trusted companion that assists with your healthcare.


If you believe that your personal information is being misused, immediately contact one of these departments for assistance:

  • Medicare: 1-800-633-4227

  • FTC ID Theft Hotline: 1-877-438-4338

  • Department of Health & Human Services Fraud Hotline: 1-800-447-8477




Up Next: What Does Medicare Cover?




Helpful Resources:

Medicare.gov: Your Medicare Card

Medicare.gov: Protect Yourself From Identity Theft

HHS.gov: How Do I Replace My Medicare Card?

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