If you are nearing the age of or recently turned 65, you may have received a red, white, and blue card. If you have, it means you are now enrolled in Medicare, and that card is proof of your coverage. Here’s everything you need to know about your new Medicare Card.
What Is Your Medicare Card?
You receive your Medicare card as soon as you’re enrolled in Medicare, and it’s used as proof that you are covered by either Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B, or both. If you are eligible for automatic enrollment in Medicare, you will typically receive your Medicare card in the mail about 3 months (90 days) before your 65th birthday, or if you are entering your 25th month of receiving disability benefits.
Medicare cards are hard to miss with their simple red, white, and blue design. It’s important to carry your Medicare card with you at all times, not only because it proves you have Medicare insurance, but because it contains other significant pieces of information.
Currently, your Medicare card consists of your name, your Medicare number, which Medicare Parts you are enrolled in, and your coverage start date.
Your Medicare Number
Currently, Medicare numbers consist of the primary account holder's social security number and a number. The letter that is assigned to you notes your status with the Social Security Administration and is for their purposes. If you or you are receiving benefits under your spouse's name, their social security number will be on your card, followed by a letter identifying this.
You may also receive a Medicare number with a different letter code behind it. This is traditionally done when you elect to delay your social security benefits until a later date, but still wish to receive Medicare health benefits.
For example, if you have elected to receive only health insurance when you turn 65, you have the option to decide whether you receive monthly social security payments, or you can defer them until a later date. If you have chosen to receive your social security benefits, they will put a letter “A” on your card. If you have chosen to defer your payments, you will see the letter “T” after your member number on your card. This will later be changed to an “A” when you start receiving Social Security benefits.
Currently, most people have a Medicare card that contains their social security number as a member identification number. Starting in April of 2018, Medicare began sending everyone a new Medicare card that contains a binary generated member identification number. This is in an effort to reduce the amount of personally identifying information located on the Medicare cards.
New Medicare Cards On The Way
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will be issuing new a new style of Medicare card starting in April of 2018. What changes can members expect though?
Members can expect new cards to contain randomly generated binary numbers instead of social security numbers. This is because using social security numbers puts members at risk. Do not worry if you do not receive your new card immediately. Medicare has until April 1, 2019, to replace Medicare cards. If you have a Medicare Plus card that identifies you by your social security number, you will receive a new card from them, with a new Medicare number.
Until you receive your new Medicare card, continue to use your current card to see doctors and receive medical treatment.
Applying For A Medicare Card
When you are first enrolled in Medicare, whether automatically or by applying on your own, you will receive a new Medicare card automatically. If you have a lost Medicare card or your card is damaged to the point where you need a new Medicare card, or your address has changed, you can receive a Medicare card replacement by using the contact information located below.
If you need a replacement Medicare card, contact Medicare using the following:
- 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday between 7 AM and 7 PM.
- You can contact your local Social Security Administration using their toll-free number to request a new card.
If you have opted to sign up for a Medicare Part C Plan, you will need to contact the insurance company you have chosen to receive services from to obtain a copy of your Medicare Plus card.
If your address has changed, make sure to let the representative know this before ordering your new card. Your Medicare card replacement will be sent to the last address noted on your file. If this is an old address, you will not receive your Medicare card replacement.
Do You Automatically Get A Medicare Card When You Turn 65 Years Old?
If you are automatically enrolled in Medicare, you will automatically get a Medicare Card in the mail within 30 days. Depending on the reason you qualify for Medicare, you will receive your card at a different time.
Members who are automatically enrolled in Medicare, you will receive your card in the mail 90 days before you turn 65 years old.
If you were required to apply for Medicare on your own, or you are provided with Medicare when you receive Social Security Disability or Social Security Supplemental Insurance, you will receive your card on the 25th month you are on Medicare.
What To Do If You Lost Your Medicare Card
If you have a lost Medicare card, it is stolen, or it has become damaged and cannot be used any longer, you can get a Medicare card replacement online or by calling your local Social Security office. To receive a Medicare card replacement, you can use three different methods:
- 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) or TTY users can use 1-877-486-2048.
- Contact your local Social Security office.
- Go online to Medicare.gov.
If you have a Medicare Plus Plan, you will need to contact your insurance carrier to receive a new Medicare Plus card replacement.
When you call, let the representative know you have a lost Medicare card, or it was stolen. You might need a new Medicare number routed to you for security reasons. If your lost Medicare card contained your social security number as a Medicare number, you will need to alert the Social Security Administration to let them know your social security number is at risk.
Unfortunately, the old method of routing numbers makes a lost Medicare card a risk to your social security number, and your credit. This means you will want to report a lost Medicare card as soon as you notice it is missing.
Getting A Medicare Card Replacement
If you need a Medicare card replacement, you can contact Medicare directly, or you can contact the Social Security Administration in your area. You can contact Medicare by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) or TTY users can use 1-877-486-2048.
If you do not have a traditional card, and you chose to use a Medicare Plus Plan, you will need to contact your insurance carrier to receive a new Medicare Plus Card. If you are required to keep both cards, you will also need to contact Medicare to receive a new Medicare card.
Change In Name Or Address
If you have changed your name, or you have recently had your address changed, you will need to contact Medicare or your local Social Security Administration to receive a new Medicare card.
Before you order a new card, let them know your address or name has changed. Your new Medicare card will be mailed to the address they have on file.
Avoiding Medicare Card Scams
According to recent surveys, the majority of Medicare recipients have not taken the time to research Medicare or their benefits. This puts them at risk of being the victim of a Medicare scam. Currently, the most common scam members are falling victim to revolves around the new cards and member numbers that are being provided.
The federal government has opted to provide new cards and new card numbers to those who receive Medicare. These cards do not cost members anything. However, a new scam is taking advantage of members who have not educated themselves on this change.
A survey conducted by AARP, a major insurance provider, found that more than 60% of Medicare users thought they were required to pay for their new card with an updated, more secure number.
Medicare and the Social Security Administration have recently sent out informational packets to members explaining that they are not calling members regarding this change. This informational packet was designed because members were falling victim to scam calls that were asking them to verify their social security number in order to receive their new card. The scammers were taking note of social security numbers, and using them for fraudulent reasons. The scammers were also demanding a fee be paid by the beneficiary so their new card could be processed. These credit cards were later used to make purchases in the name of Medicare beneficiaries.
Medicare will never contact you to verify your social security number. If you receive a phone call from anyone claiming to be from Medicare, or the Social Security Administration asking to verify any information, hang up and contact them using the