When you first enroll a Medicare, you’ll receive a “Welcome to Medicare” packet in the mail with your Medicare card.
If your Medicare card is lost, stolen, or damaged, you’ll need to request a replacement card immediately through Social Security. Be sure to request a new card quickly so that you don’t have to wait for coverage at your next doctor’s appointment.
Your doctor might be able to look up your Medicare number, but it will be easier and faster if you can present your card.
How to get a New Medicare Card
You can request a new Medicare card by:
- Using your online “my Social Security” account.
- Calling 1-800-633-4277 (TTY 1-877-486-2048)
- Visiting your local Social Security office
When you use the online service, you should receive your Medicare card in the mail within 30 days. It will be automatically shipped to the address on file with Social Security, so make sure the address in your account is correct.
If you get your Medicare benefits through the Railroad Retirement Board, you’ll want to contact them directly:
- 1-877-772-5772 (TTY 1-312-751-4701, M-F, 9 AM to 3:30 PM)
- Your local RRB office
What to do if you Lose Your 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.
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.
New Medicare Cards 2018
In 2017, CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) decided to launch a new version of the red, white, and blue Medicare card. The big change is that instead of having your Social Security number plastered on your card, you’ll be assigned a Medicare number.
You should treat your “MBI” or Medicare beneficiary identifier number the same way you treat your Social Security number – don’t give it out unless you know it’s necessary and you trust the person you’re giving it to. However, it is much safer to carry a card with your Medicare number than your Social Security number!
Everyone should have received a new Medicare card by early 2019. The last batch was reportedly shipped in October 2018. If you never received one, be sure to contact Social Security right away (or ask your insurance agent for help).
The new plastic Medicare cards will not affect your benefits – it will only protect your security.
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.
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.
Avoiding Medicare Card Scams
Scammers might try to get your Medicare number from you. Remember that Medicare will never call and ask you to verify your number – they already have that information. If someone calls you and asks for your Medicare number, and you weren’t expecting them to call, do not give it to them. The only people that should need your Medicare number are your doctors, your insurance agents, and your private health plan (if you have one).
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.
In fact, click through to our guide on Medicare scams to learn how to block unknown scam callers on your phone. Read about common scams to look out for so you can be as prepared as possible.
*This post was originally published on 9/7/17. It was last updated on 1/7/20.