How Do I Get A New Medicare Card
Contributing expert: Kelly Blackwell, Certified Senior Advisor®Updated: September 16, 2021Replace your Medicare card and avoid Medicare fraud if your card is lost or stolen.
Kelly Blackwell is a Certified Senior Advisor ®. She has been a healthcare professional for over 30 years, with experience working as a bedside nurse and as a Clinical Manager. She has a passion for educating, assisting and advising seniors throughout the healthcare process.
Your Medicare card shows your name, a unique number, and your hospital and medical coverage and start dates. If youve lost your card, you could have trouble getting services from health care providers and put yourself at risk of Medicare fraud. You can get a replacement Medicare card by logging in to your Social Security or Medicare account or calling for help.
What You Need To Know About Using Your Card
When you sign up for health insurance, your health plan will send a member identification card to you and your covered family members. Your member ID card is proof that you have health insurance. Health care providers use the information from your member ID card to confirm they are part of your plans network and to bill your health plan for your care. Some plans have mobile apps that let you share the member ID card on your smartphone or tablet. Keep your member ID card handy when you:
- Go to the doctor
- Get a prescription filled
Get Rid Of Old Medicare Cards
If you happen to find your Medicare card after youve received the replacement, its important to destroy the old one.
Again, this step is especially crucial if you have one of the old cards that shows your Social Security Number. But even if you have a new-style Medicare card and you received a replacement card, its important to destroy the older card.
Cut up your Medicare card using scissors, or use an office paper shredder to completely destroy the card. Make sure the numbers on the card are unreadable before you throw away any of the pieces.
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Print Out A Temporary Card
If you request a new Medicare card online, you may be able to print out a temporary replacement card. This will allow you or your loved one to easily access healthcare services in the meantime before the new card arrives.
After you request a new card online, a new permanent Medicare card should arrive in the mail within about 30 days. Make sure to enter the correct address where you want to receive the card.
Protecting Personal Medicare Information
In the past, a persons Medicare card listed their social security number, which also served as their Medicare number.
However, this changed in 2018. A Medicare beneficiary identifier number replaced the social security number on all Medicare cards in 2018 to reduce the likelihood of medical identity theft.
It is still vital, however, to be proactive about preventing fraudulent activity. For example, it is essential for people with Medicare to avoid sharing their Medicare beneficiary identifier number with anyone except their healthcare provider.
A person should never provide personal Medicare information to a person who emails or calls for information. Also, beneficiaries should never let another individual borrow the card to pay for services on their behalf.
People should also consider checking their Medicare Summary Notice to make sure that it is accurate. If people identify services that they did not receive, they should first call their healthcare provider to determine whether a billing error occurred.
People concerned about possible Medicare identity theft or fraudulent activity should contact Medicare on 800-MEDICARE .
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How To Get A Medicare Replacement Card Online: Step
Losing a Medicare card can be extremely stressful. You might not know whether someone stole the card or whether you or your loved one simply misplaced it.
Even if you think your Medicare card might still be somewhere in your home, its a good idea to begin the replacement process. If you think your card may have been stolen, you should also take steps to protect yourself from identity theft and fraud.
Jump ahead to these sections:
If you lost your Medicare card, or youre helping a loved one who did, the steps below will help you through the card replacement process.
How To Get A Medicare Card Replacement // New Lost Or Stolen
So, you have a medical appointment soon but you seem to have misplaced your Medicare card. A lost Medicare card can lead to a lot of headache. You know your healthcare provider requires you to present your health insurance card at the appointment, so how can you get a replacement Medicare card if you no longer have your original? Plus, do you even have time to get a new one before the appointment? Thankfully, requesting a Medicare replacement card is fairly simple, and there are even some things you can do if you need it quickly. If you need a card replacement, then keep reading to learn about your options.
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Can You Access Services Without Your Medicare Card
It is still possible to access healthcare services without being able to present a Medicare card. People can do this in several different ways.
A person with Original Medicare may log in to myMedicare.gov and print a temporary copy of their Medicare card.
In addition, while waiting for their replacement card, the person can ask their healthcare provider to look up their Medicare number online.
A persons primary care doctor and their previous healthcare providers may also have insurance information on file in their medical records.
It may take 30 days for a persons new card to arrive. However, a person may require proof of their Medicare enrollment before it comes.
Beneficiaries can also request a letter stating that they have Medicare and providing their Medicare number. Usually, the letter takes about 10 days to arrive.
A person may need immediate proof of Medicare coverage. In these circumstances, they may visit a local Social Security office in person.
How To Obtain A New Medicare Card Online For 2018
1. If you dont already have a My Social Security online account, youll need to create one. The website will ask you to select a username and a password to access your account with. Once youve done this, the Social Security Administration will e-mail you or text your cell phone with an access code thatll allow you to finish setting up your account securely.
Please note that if you have a security freeze on your credit, youll need to temporarily lift the security freeze in order to set up a new My Social Security account.
2. Log into your My Social Security account.
3. Click on the Replacement Documents tab.
4. Select Mail My Replacement Medicare Card.
Youll then be mailed your replacement card, typically within a 30-day period. If you need to change the address you have on file with the Social Security Administration, you can also do this while youre logged into your account.
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Getting Help With Your Other Medicare Questions
Do you have other questions about your Medicare coverage? Did you know that $0 premium Medicare Advantage plans may be available in your area?
Learn more about your Medicare Advantage coverage options and compare available plans by calling today to speak with a licensed insurance agent.
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About the author
David Levine is an award-winning writer and editor whose work has been featured in the New York Times, New York Daily News, Sports Illustrated, American Heritage, U.S. News & World Report and others.
David has covered health, health insurance and health policy topics among many others since 2017. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English from the University of Rochester and currently lives in Albany, New York.
MedicareAdvantage.com is a website owned and operated by TZ Insurance Solutions LLC. TZ Insurance Solutions LLC and TruBridge, Inc. represent Medicare Advantage Organizations and Prescription Drug Plans having Medicare contracts enrollment in any plan depends upon contract renewal.
Plan availability varies by region and state. For a complete list of available plans, please contact 1-800-MEDICARE , 24 hours a day/7 days a week or consult www.medicare.gov.
Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed this information.
Did You Get Your New Medicare Card
All Medicare beneficiaries were supposed to get new cards by April 2019 featuring a randomly generated Medicare Beneficiary Identifier ,2 This card uses numbers and letters, instead of a Social Security number. This is meant to prevent identity theft. If you still havent gotten one, request a replacement card. Medicare recommends that you destroy the old card with your Social Security number on it when your new one arrives.
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How Do I Get A Medicare Card Replacement
Fortunately, Medicare officials realize these cards may be lost. You have several options for replacement should you lose your Medicare card. These include:
- Online. You can go to MyMedicare.gov and create an account or log in to your existing profile. From this site, you can print off an official copy of your Medicare card. You can also request a replacement card to arrive via mail by clicking on Replacement Documents and then Mail my replacement Medicare card.
- Phone. You can call the Medicare office at 800-MEDICARE to request a new Medicare card. You can also call this number if youre worried someone else is using your Medicare number to obtain health benefits.
- In person. You can go to your local Social Security office and request they send you a replacement card. Search for the nearest location on the Social Security website.
When you order a replacement Medicare card, the card wont usually come for about 30 days after you ordered it. If you dont receive your Medicare card within that time, its important to contact the Medicare office again as your replacement card could be lost or stolen.
How Do I Replace A Lost Medicare Card
You can order a replacement Medicare card online, using the Social Security website. Youll be directed to log into your My Social Security account, where youll be able to request a new card. The card will be mailed to the address on your account within 30 days so make sure your address correct. You can also call Social Security toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, call Social Securitys toll-free TTY number at 1-800-325-0778.
If you need proof that you have Medicare sooner than 30 days, you can request to have a letter mailed to you within 10 days. Or, if you need proof immediately that you have Medicare for a prescription or for your doctor the site may advise you to make an appointment at a Social Security office thats open.
If you need proof of your Medicare enrollment sooner, many health care providers offices will accept a Social Security statement showing your entitlement. You should be able to print this out online. Medicare Advantage, Part D, and Medigap insurers have their own insurance cards. Contact your insurer if you need to replace one of these cards.
Maurie Backman has been writing professionally for well over a decade, and her coverage area runs the gamut from healthcare to personal finance to career advice. Much of her writing these days revolves around retirement and its various components and challenges, including healthcare, Medicare, Social Security, and money management.
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What Does A Medicare Card Look Like
Your Medicare card is red, white, and blue, and it contains your name and your Medicare ID number. Note that your card will not contain your or your spouses Social Security Number this change was implemented ato help keep that important detail under wraps.
Your Medicare card will indicate whether you have Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B, or both. Finally, your Medicare card will note the date when your health coverage began. You may be surprised to see that your Medicare card is paper, not plastic. Paper cards are easier for providers to copy, which is why Medicare made the switch.
How Do You Apply For A Medicare Card
You apply for your Medicare card when you first enroll in Medicare Part A, Part B or both. There are four different options for manually enrolling in Medicare.
How to Apply for a Medicare Card
- You can apply in person at your local Social Security office.
- Railroad workers can apply by calling the Railroad Retirement Board at 1-877-772-5772 .
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Request A Replacement Medicare Card Online
To request a replacement card online, youll need to log into your mySocialSecurity account. If you dont have an account, youll need to sign up. Once youre logged in, select the Replacement Documents tab and click Mail my replacement Medicare Card. Your replacement card will be mailed to your address on file.
What Information Is On Your Medicare Card
Besides your full name, your Medicare card includes your Medicare number as well as important information about the health insurance coverage to which you are entitled. This includes:2
- Medicare numberThis is one of the most important pieces of information on your Medicare card. Its what the billing department will use when it submits for reimbursement from Medicare. Your Medicare number used to be your Social Security number , but now its a more secure, randomly generated combination of 11 numerals and capital letters. It is confidential and should only be shared with people you trust.3
- Part AIf you have Part A, labeled HOSPITAL, you are entitled to care in a hospital or skilled nursing facility, hospice care and home healthcare. The date your coverage begins is also included.4
- Part BIf you have Part B, labeled MEDICAL, you are entitled to medical care and preventive services. Your coverage starting date for Part B is also included.5
If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you will receive a separate ID card. If your plan covers prescription drugs, your MA card will include that information too. You should use your MA card as your primary Medicare card, but you should still keep your Medicare card in a safe place.
Good to Know
Your Medicare number is no longer your Social Security number, but a more secure combination of letters and numbers that helps protect you from identity theft.
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When Will My Medicare Card Arrive
As mentioned, the process of applying for Medicare can vary depending on your particular situation and how you qualify for Medicare. This will affect the timing of when your Medicare card arrives in the mail as well. If youre already receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board retirement benefits when you turn 65, youll be automatically enrolled in Medicare when you turn 65. Your Medicare card should be sent in the mail about three months before your 65th birthday. If you need to manually enroll in Medicare during your seven-month Initial Enrollment Period, the arrival of your Medicare card will depend on which month you signed up for Medicare. Your Initial Enrollment Period starts three months before your 65th birthday, includes your birthday month, and ends three months later.
If you qualify for Medicare because of disability, your Medicare card will arrive in the mail three months before your 25th month of disability benefits.
Replacing A Medicare Part C Card
If your Medicare Advantage Card is lost, stolen, faded, or damaged, youll call your plan provider to get a replacement card. Those whose plan provider is the Railroad Retirement Board can call the Railroad Retirement Board Help Line .
On occasions, your Medicare Advantage Plan card may become lost or destroyed during a natural disaster or other emergency. If this happens to you and you dont know the name of your plan provider or dont have the information to contact your plan provider with, call 1-800-MEDICARE . Medicare employees can help you search for and find the correct plan information that will help you replace your lost card.
Note that you can also call Medicare to help you get the medical services you need after an emergency or disaster. Call 1-800-MEDICARE if you need help accessing dialysis or other medical treatments and your usual healthcare provider is unavailable.
Aarp Medicare Advantage From Unitedhealthcare Members
A member ID number and group number allow healthcare providers to verify your coverage and file insurance claims for health care services. It also helps UnitedHealthcare advocates answer questions about benefits and claims.
The back of the member ID card includes the member website and phone numbers to connect with customer service, speak with a nurse and discuss behavioral health. It also includes contact information for providers and pharmacists to submit insurance claims.
Protect Your Medicare Card And Social Security Number
Many people ask why the ID number on their Medicare card is identical to their Social Security number . The Medicare ID is more than an identifier. Its proof of insurance. Beneficiaries need to show their Medicare card at the doctors office and the hospital on their first visit in order to have Medicare pay for treatment.
How to Protect Your Social Security Number
The Social Security Administration suggests that you do not give your number to anyone, except when authorized by law. You should ask why your number is needed, how it will be used and what will happen if you refuse. The answers to these questions can help you decide if you want to give out your Social Security number.
Keep your Medicare card and any other document that shows your Social Security number in a safe place. DO NOT routinely carry your card or other documents that display your number. Most healthcare providers already have your information in their electronic systems. However, if you feel more comfortable having your Medicare information with you, you can make a photocopy of your card and block all but the last four digits. This is sufficient most of the time. However, you will need your actual Medicare card with you the first time you visit a new health care provider, who will make a photocopy of it for their files.
Lost or Stolen Cards
Sources: AARP, www.aarp.org/health/medicare-insurance/info-07-2012/medicare-card-identity-theft.html. Medicare, www.medicare.gov
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