New Medicare Cards 2018
New Medicare cards have been shipped across the country, but if you live in KY, LA, MI, MS, MO, OH, TN, Puerto Rico, or the Virgin Islands, they are on the way. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) sent out new Medicare cards starting April 2018. If you are in the above states, your card is on the way and was shipped early October 2018!
Why is CMS sending new Medicare cards? Well, your old Medicare card had your social security number printed right on it! Over two and a half million senior citizens just like you are victims of identity theft each year. Lost Medicare cards are a good way for criminals to steal information, but new Medicare cards will soon provide greater safety, security, and privacy.
What is a Medicare Card
When you enroll in Medicare for the first time, you’ll receive a red, white, and blue Medicare card in the mail. If you are automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A, you will receive your plastic Medicare card about three months before your 65th birthday so that you will already have it when your plan becomes active.
Your plastic Medicare card proves that you have Medicare health insurance and will tell providers (doctors, pharmacists, hospitals, etc.) what type of coverage you have and what day your coverage begins. You should keep your plastic Medicare card with you at all times so that if you have to see a doctor for any reason, you can prove that you have Medicare coverage and avoid being overcharged.
Lost Medicare Card
Have you lost or misplaced your Medicare card? A lost Medicare card can be very dangerous as it contains your social security number. Losing your Medicare card is similar to losing your social security card. That’s why starting this year, new Medicare cards will be slightly different. We’ll discuss that and show you a new Medicare card image in a bit.
If you need to order a new Medicare card because of a lost Medicare card or changed information (like if you change your name or address), your first step should be to contact Social Security and let them know. You can also print a copy of your Medicare card by signing into My.Medicare.gov (you may need to create an account). If you still have your old Medicare card or if you find your lost Medicare card, be sure to cut it up and throw it away so that no one can steal your information.
Here are some tips for protecting your identity in regards to your new Medicare card:
- A Medicare employee will never call and ask for your social security number or banking information. If someone does call you asking for that information, it may be a scam. Do NOT give out your social security number to someone who claims to be calling from Medicare unless you know you can trust the person on the line.
- If someone asks you to pay for a Medicare card, it is a scam. Medicare cards are always free and you should receive one automatically when you enroll.
- If someone tells you that your benefits will be revoked if you do not give information or money, it may be a scam. The only people that should ask you for money are your doctors or your plan’s billing department. Be sure to always know who you are talking to.
New Medicare Cards
The new plastic Medicare cards will not affect your benefits – it will only protect your security. Below is the new Medicare card image and the most frequently asked questions about new Medicare cards:
When will new Medicare cards be mailed?
Medicare estimates that all beneficiaries will receive their new cards by April of 2019. There is still time! Your new card will be mailed to you; you do NOT have to request a new card. Everyone will receive one. Some people may have already received a new Medicare card, but do not panic if you have not received yours yet.
Will the new Medicare cards be plastic?
Unlike the old plastic Medicare card you may have, new Medicare cards will not be plastic. They will be made of paper to make it easier for providers to use and make copies. We recommend purchasing a cheap plastic cover for your Medicare card. You can buy a pack of card covers (like these) in bulk on Amazon or stop by your favorite local office supplies store, like Staples or Officemax.
New Medicare Card Image
The new cards will have randomly assigned “MBI” numbers (Medicare Beneficiary Identifier numbers) instead of your social security number. Note that if you have a Medicare Advantage plan or a Part D prescription drug plan, your other plan cards will most likely not be changing. You should carry those with you everywhere you go as well. This picture from Medicare.gov is similar to what your new Medicare card will look like:
If you have questions about your Medicare plan or these new Medicare cards, call your agent! If you don’t yet have an agent, call Senior Market Advisors at 1-844-431-1832.
*This post was originally published on 9/7/17. Updated on 10/30/18.