The more things change, the more they stay the same. In response to privacy concerns about the old Medicare cards that included your Social Security number on them, Medicare is in the process of issuing new Medicare cards. The new cards have a new number, but not much else is changing.
Your wallet will hopefully be safer with the new Medicare card.
However, here are a few things that are useful to know about the new cards:
1. You May or May Not Have Already Received Your Card
The government is currently about half way through sending out the new Medicare cards.
So, if your Social Security contact information is up to date, you should not have any problems receiving the card. (To update your contact information, visit mySocial Security account.)
Don’t worry if your neighbor has received their card and you have not.
If you are concerned, you can check the Medicare.gov website to see where cards have been mailed, and you can enter your email to be notified when mailings begin in your state.
2. The New Cards Are Supposedly Safer
The old Medicare cards had your Social Security numbers printed on them. This increased your risk of identity fraud.
The new cards use an 11 character (both letters and numbers) Medicare identifier.
However, only share your Medicare identifier with your healthcare professionals — no one else needs this information.
3. Beware About New Types of Fraud
If you receive a phone call asking you for personal information so that you can receive your new Medicare card, you are likely being targeted by a criminal. The new Medicare cards are free and will be sent to you automatically.
No one from Medicare will be calling you about the new cards.
Suspicious calls can be reported by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) your local Senior Medicare Patrol, a federally funded service for people on Medicare and their families.
The ONLY times a Medicare plan can call you is if you have telephoned them and left a message.
4. New Card — Same Benefits
Your Medicare coverage does not change with the new card. Your benefits stay the same.
5. You Still Need Your Other Medicare Supplemental Cards
If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, Medicaid a Medicare drug plan or other supplemental coverage, you still need those cards and will need to present them to your medical professionals. The new Medicare card is for communicating your basic enrollment in Medicare Part A and/or Part B.
NOTE: Medicare Open Enrollment coming soon — Oct. 15. It is a good idea to assess your Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug coverage every year during the open enrollment period.
6. What Do the New Cards Look Like?
The new Medicare health insurance cards are red, white and blue paper (not plastic).
- There is a blue arching swath at the top with an eagle icon in the left corner and it says “MEDICARE HEALTH INSURANCE”
- A red stripe is across the bottom
- The only information on the front of the card is your name, Medicare number, whether you are entitled to Part A, Part B or both and the start date(s) of your coverage.
7. Your Providers Will Know What to Do with the Card
The government has informed doctors, pharmacies and health care facilities about the new cards.
While your healthcare providers are likely to be able to look up your information if you don’t have the card, it is easier for everyone if you have it with you.
8. How to Replace a Lost Card
If your Medicare card was lost, stolen, or destroyed, you can ask for a replacement by using your online my Social Security account, even if you don’t yet receive Social Security benefits. If don’t already have a Social Security on-line account, you can create one online. Go to Sign In or Create an Account.
Once you are logged in to your account, select the “Replacement Documents” tab. Then select “Mail my replacement Medicare Card.”
9. Shred Your Old Card
Once you have received your new card, you can shred your old card.
Have You Confirmed that You Are Financially Prepared for Medical Costs in Retirement?
Hopefully the new Medicare cards can give you peace of mind about identity fraud.
Another way to feel good about your financial future is to create and maintain a written retirement plan — especially one that gives you visibility into how you will fund medical expenses.
The NewRetirement retirement planner is the most reliable planning tool online. This system automatically calculates medical expenses into your plan but gives you a huge amount of flexibility in creating a really personal and detailed plan for your financial future. It is easy to get started!