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How Long Do Medicare Cards Last

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For A Last Name Change

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  • certificate of marriage
  • certified copy of statement of marriage
  • Canadian change of name certificate
  • a Record of Marriage
  • notarized affidavit
  • divorce certificate
  • Citizenship/immigration status document in the name requested
  • Citizenship/immigration status document for the name currently on your health card and a marriage document audit trail backward to the name requested
  • certified copy of the court order for a change in name
  • Adoption Certificate

If you have a red and white health card, you must also provide three original documents to prove citizenship or eligible immigration status, Ontario residency and identity. Check the Ontario Health Coverage Document List for acceptable documents.

When Can You Expect Your New Card

Your new card should arrive in the mail at the address listed with your Social Security number within 30 days. If you dont receive it in that time period, you may need to correct something in your account. For example, if you moved and didnt report it to Social Security, youll need to change your address before your request for a replacement card can be processed.

If you need to prove that you have Medicare in less than 30 days, you can request temporary proof in the form of a letter. This will typically be received within 10 days. If you need proof immediately, such as for a doctors visit or prescription, the best option is to visit your nearest Social Security office.

Protect Your Medicare Card

It is very important to note that your Medicare card should be carefully guarded. Just as you would protect a credit card or your Social Security card, you should guard your Medicare card in the same fashion, as it contains sensitive information. In the wrong hands, such information as your name, signature and Social Security number could be copied or stolen. It could then be used to steal your identity or commit Medicare fraud. Therefore, only provide your Medicare card or information to hospitals and your direct health care providers.

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What Your Medicare Card Should Contain

When you receive your Medicare card, there a few things you should do right away. The first of which is to review the information on the card for its accuracy.

Check to see that your name is spelled correctly. Your name is located under beneficiary and has a claim number below it. The claim number should be the same as your Social Security number, with a letter or letters behind it. Make certain the numbers are the same as your Social Security number.

Moving down to the middle of the card, you will find a description of the coverage you are eligible to receive. Be certain the type of coverage you signed up for is what appears on the card . Part A is the portion of Medicare that provides coverage for hospital stays, home healthcare and hospice. Part B covers doctor visits and outpatient services and care.

If there is any incorrect information on your card, or you have a question or questions regarding your coverage or card information contained on it, there is a toll-free number located on the top portion of your Medicare card. This is the number for you to contact a Medicare Health Insurance representative. Call Medicare Health Insurance at Medicare .

And finally, at the bottom of the card will be a signature line. If all the information on your card is correct, be certain to sign your name on the signature line indicated.

What Your Medicare Card Will Look Like

Did You Get Your New Medicare Card?

Once you have been accepted into the Medicare program, the next step is to receive your Medicare card. Your Medicare card acts as the card that you use at the healthcare facilities. It has a unique number with your name on it, along with your Medicare Part A and, if you have it, Part B effective dates.

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What You Need To Know About The New Medicare Cards

On May 30, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released information on the new Medicare cards that would be sent out beginning next year. Department of Justice statistics indicate that between 2012 and 2014, identity theft crimes rose from affecting 2.1 million Americans to 2.6 million people. Identify theft, which can happen when criminals steal valuable personal information, such as social security numbers, can have far-reaching effects. Among these are damage to personal finances, inaccurate medical records, false claims and poor credit ratings.

In an effort to thwart fraud, abuse and identity theft common and rampant problems in the Medicare program the CMS is issuing new cards that will no longer feature beneficiaries social security numbers.

Sensitive Information

A social security number provides access to a multitude of personal information, which gives hackers and thieves the opportunity to commit crimes of identity theft. Old Medicare cards featured members social security numbers, allowing criminals easy access to this information when the cards were sent via mail or presented at places like physicians offices, pharmacies or other provider agencies.

The New Cards

Your current card includes your name, the effective date of coverage and information about your current program. When your provider submits a claim, your social security number is used as the claim number. These features will change once the new card arrives.

How To Protect Your Medicare Card And Avoid Medicare Scams

The best way to protect yourself is to treat your Medicare card like your Social Security card. Your Medicare number should only be revealed to doctors and people who you trust. Dont reveal information to unknown people who reach out to you via email, text, or phone calls. Keep track of your appointments and labs so that you can compare your list with your Medicare statements. Doing those things will maximize your safety and protect you.

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How To Get A Replacement Medicare Card

Especially since theyre made of paper, you may find yourself needing a replacement Medicare card, for example if your old card gets lost or damaged. Fortunately, the federal government made it nice and simple to remedy this situation.

All you have to do is log into your online Medicare account at and replace your Medicare card online by printing off an official copy. If you havent ever logged in, you can first create an online Medicare account. You can also call Medicare for assistance at 1-800-MEDICARE, or 1-877-486-2048 for TTY users.

You may also find yourself needing a new Medicare card due to a name change. Your card will always show the same name as your Social Security account, and you can contact the Social Security office to update your name for both.

Getting An Extra Card

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Your family can get a second card with the same details. We provide an extra card when more than one family member needs a card. We can only issue one extra card.

If someone in your family is 15 or older, they may want to get their own card. Read more about getting your own Medicare card. We cant issue an extra card when youre the only person on your card.

You can ask for an extra card for your family by:

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Issue Of Medicare Cards

Medicare cards are issued by Medicare Australia to individuals and their families. A maximum of five names can be included on a card. Families with more than five members will have additional names listed on additional cards, while retaining the same card number. Children are listed on their parent’s card â a family may be all on one card, or a child may be listed on one parent’s card, or both parents’ cards, or even in some cases, alone on their own card if their name exceeds a specific number of letters. Children who are wards of the state will be listed on a card with the Department of Children’s Services as cardholder. Medicare cards may be used to show a relationship when parents have different surnames to their children.

Individual Medicare cards are generally only issued to people over 15. This is a Medicare Australia policy and there are exceptions for people at boarding schools or away from home. Significantly, this policy may detract from the right of a mature minor to gain confidential medical care. Using their family’s Medicare card could potentially notify their parents of the consultation, but only if the parents request information about their child’s medical claims and for a person to request information about medical claims for people 14 years and over they must have the permission of that person they are requesting the information for.

Getting And Replacing Your Medicare Card

Need a Medicare card? Heres how to get one whether youre new to Medicare or need a replacement.

  • VI.
What you should know
1.When you apply for Medicare, upon approval, you will receive a red, white, and blue Medicare membership card. 2. Your Medicare card wont have your Social Security number on it. There will be a unique identification number thats generated and listed on your card.
3. Your Medicare card is in paper form. It isnt advised that you laminate your card. It isnt illegal however, there are security features built-in that may be compromised if the card is laminated.

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How Do I Order A Replacement Medicare Card

En español | You can request a replacement Medicare card by contacting Social Security at

To make your online request, you will need your:

  • Name as it appears on your most recent Social Security card
  • Social Security number
  • Date of birth

Your Medicare card should arrive in the mail in about 30 days.If you prefer, or if you are unable to use the online request to obtain a replacement Medicare card, call Social Security at 800-772-1213 .

When Should You Carry Your Medicare Card


Its a good idea to carry your Medicare card with you whenever youre away from home. You will need to show it to doctors, hospital staff and other healthcare providers whenever you are seeking care.1

If you dont want to bring it with you to a health appointment, you can call ahead and ask the doctors office if theyll need a copy of the card.

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Do Medicare Cards Expire

Generally speaking, no, your Medicare card wont expire. For the vast majority of people, continuing to pay your annual Medicare premiums will automatically renew your coverage. Youll also notice there are no coverage end dates on your card, only coverage start dates.

Basically, the government has tried to make it as easy as possible to utilize Medicare. But there are a couple of exceptions to the automatic renewal process.

Sometimes, your Medicare coverage changes due to new laws and regulations. But dont stress youll be notified directly if any laws or regulations change your coverage. Youll also need a new Medicare card if you switch from Medicare Advantage back to the original Medicare program.

Medicare Parts A and B will renew automatically, so long as you pay your premiums. So will your Medicare card for these programs. But do keep in mind that youll need to request a new Medicare card if you choose to switch.

Protect Your Medicare Number Like A Credit Card

Only give personal information, like your Medicare Number, to health care providers, your insurance companies or health plans , or people you trust that work with Medicare, like your State Health Insurance Assistance Program .

Say no to scams

Medicare will never call you uninvited and ask you to give us personal or private information. Learn more about the limited situations in which Medicare can call you.

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Updating Your Name Date Of Birth Or Gender

You can on the Medicare program line to make some updates to your name or date of birth. Youll need to prove your identity over the phone.

Updates we can make for you over the phone include:

  • changing your legal name, for example changing from a maiden to married name
  • date of birth details where the dates one day out, for example changing 1 September 1990 to 2 September 1990
  • date of birth details where you need to swap the day and month, for example, 1-9-1990 to 9-1-1990.

To change your legal name youll need to have supporting documents with you when you call us.

You can use any one of the following:

  • birth certificate.

We wont accept ceremonial certificates as a supporting document.

Well send you a new Medicare card if your name has changed. We cant update your gender details or full date of birth over the phone. Youll need to give us supporting documents as proof for these changes. To make these changes you can either:

You dont have to get the copy of your proof certified.

If you email us, please include Update personal details in the subject line.

Can You Still See Your Doctor If You Lose Your Card

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You should be able to. If your doctors office has a recent copy of your Medicare card, they may already have your Medicare information on file. Many health practices update their records annually and may ask for your card.

Sometimes doctors can look up your Medicare information without requiring your card if they have access to the Medicare Administrative Contractor portal. Youll need to provide your full legal name, birthday and SSN.7

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Replacing Your Medicare Card

Medicare cards are valid for 5 years. Well send you a new card before your old one expires. You dont have to do anything unless your address has changed. If it has, update your details so the card gets to you.

If your card is lost, stolen or damaged, you can replace your Medicare card.

If someone listed on your card dies, we can reissue a new card if you ask us to.

What Is Not Covered By Medicare

Medicare does not cover a range of costs like:

  • private patient costs in hospital
  • extras services like dental and physiotherapy
  • medical aids like glasses or hearing aids

You may choose to take out private health insurance to help with these costs. Private health insurance may cover some of your costs for things like glasses, or hearing or mobility aids. You may also be eligible for free or low-cost medical aids under the Medical Aids Subsidy Scheme.

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What Do You Need To Know About Your Medicare Card

Your red-white-and-blue paper Medicare card is similar to other health insurance cards you may have had in the past. It acts as proof that you have Medicare health insurance, and it provides the starting date of your coverage.

Did You Know?

A red-white-and-blue paper Medicare card is mailed to adults who are turning 65 and enrolled in Medicare.

How Do You Keep Your Card And Information Safe

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If you dont want to carry the card with you when youre not going to the doctor, you should keep it in a safe place at home, such as a locked desk drawer or a fireproof safe.

Be sure to put it back in the same place every time once youre done using it. If you forget where you put it, you may need to get a replacement card.

Before 2018, Medicare cards used a subscribers Social Security number as their ID, which led to problems of identity theft. Now that your Medicare number is no longer your SSN, its less risky to lose the card. Nonetheless, you should still be careful about giving out your Medicare number to anyone other than a doctor, pharmacist, insurer or other healthcare professional. Protect it as you do your credit cards, since con artists are always trying to get Medicare beneficiaries personal information.8

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S To Apply For A Medicare Card

Step 1. Begin by going to the Social Security website and apply online by clicking on Medicare, located at the top of the page headings . A new page will appear, and you will then click the Apply for Medicare Benefits link.

Step 2. On the Apply for Medicare Benefits page, you will be asked if you are applying for yourself or another. Fill in the bubble that is appropriate for your application purpose . Then, click the Privacy Act Statement, after reading the statement click the Apply for Benefits icon, to begin the question portion of your application process.

Step 3. Answer the questions posed, such as your name, address, date of birth, Social Security number, income, employment history, medical history, disabilities and your income.

Step 4. Review the information that you have given and then verify that it is correct on the last page of the application. Then, click on the Submit icon.

Typically, that is all there is to it no further information is required. In approximately 30 days or so, you should be receiving your Medicare card by mail. Check the information on your card for accuracy.

How To Get Your First Red White And Blue Medicare Card

Receiving your first Medicare card is easyenroll in Medicare and your card will be sent in the mail.1 If you still need to enroll, follow these tips to .

Other scenarios to consider:2

  • If you qualify for Medicare through age, youll receive your Medicare card in the mail 3 months before your 65th birthday.
  • If you qualify for Medicare through disability, youll receive your card in the mail 3 months before your 25th month of getting disability benefits.
  • If you qualify for Medicare through ALS , you can get your Medicare card the same month your disability benefits begin.

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