Communicate Now With Medicare Patients
Physician practices will play a vital role in educating Medicare patients about their new cards. To prepare patients for this transition, your practice can:
- Use waiting room posters : Post notices in your office to alert your patients about the new cards. CMS plans to release additional waiting room signs and posters before April 2018.
- Verify patients addresses: If addresses on file differ from addresses on electronic eligibility transactions, ask patients to contact the Social Security Administration to update their Medicare records.
- Prepare appointment reminders: Starting in April 2018, include prompts in reminders for Medicare patients to bring their new cards to appointments.
Using Your Medicare Card
You need to bring your original Medicare card with you the first time you visit your doctor or health care provider. They will typically make a photocopy of your card for their own files.
Remember these important rules for handling your Medicare card:
- Some doctors, labs, pharmacies, or other health care providers may require you to bring your Medicare card each time you receive a service. However for safety, you may wish to leave your Medicare card at home in a safe place at other times.
- If you recently received an updated Medicare card or replacement, make sure your doctor has the updated card on file.
- Never share your Medicare card or your Medicare ID number with anyone except your doctor or health care provider. If you are married, your spouse should have a separate Medicare card and number. Protect your Medicare card, and always keep it in a safe place.
- Have your Medicare card handy whenever you call Medicare with questions.
If you think someone has used your Medicare card without your knowledge, contact your local authorities or the Federal Trade Commissions ID Theft Hotline at 1-877-438-4338 .
Wheres My New Medicare Card How To Find Out The Status
The federal government has begun mailing new Medicare cards to 59 million Americans. You should keep track of when your new card will arrive and contact Medicare if you don’t receive it.
Local Elder Law Attorneys in Your City
As ElderLawAnswers previously reported, to prevent fraud and fight identity theft, the federal government is issuing new cards to all Medicare beneficiaries that will no longer have beneficiaries’ Social Security numbers on them. The government began mailing the cards in April 2018 and the new cards should be completely distributed by April 2019. The cards are being mailed in phases based on the state the beneficiary lives in.
To check the status of card mailing in your state, go here: . The map will show whether Medicare has sent new cards to your state. Once Medicare starts mailing cards to your state, it can take up to a month to receive the card. If the government has finished mailing the cards to your state, and you did not receive a card, contact Medicare right away at 1-800-MEDICARE or 1-877-486-2048 for TTY users.
If the government hasn’t begun mailing cards to your state yet, keep checking the website. You can also sign up to receive an email when the card is mailed to you. If your mailing address is not up to date, call 800-772-1213, visit www.ssa.gov, or go to a local Social Security office to update it.
For information on the new cards, go here: .
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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.
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 Can I Proactively Protect My Medicare Information
You need to treat our Medicare number and card as a credit card. When you get a new Medicare card destroy the only one. You can shred it, chop it up, or try to dispose of it in some other method. Make sure your information cannot be read on the card.
Do not return your medicare card if you receive a call from a random person who claims you need to return the old card.
Do not give out your card or your Medicare number to just anyone. If you are contacted on the phone and asked to give your Medicare information please be cautious.
Now would be a good time to mention phone scams.
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.
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Do Medicare Card Expire
Your Medicare card is proof of your Medicare insurance. This card is necessary in order see the health care professionals and suppliers that you need for both emergencies and for wellness related visits.
These cards provide a great deal of information on them. For example, your Medicare card shows that you have Medicare health insurance. It also shows whether you have Part A , Part B , or both. It also shows the date your coverage started. In addition, it shows your name and your Medicare claim number, along with the effective date of your Medicare coverage.
How to Renew an Expired Medicare Card
As the time draws near to your Medicare cards expiration date, you will receive a renewal notification in the mail. Through this, you should request a new ID card. The Social Security Administration has procedures in place for Medicare enrollees to renew their cards either in person, through the Internet, or over the phone.
If renewing your Medicare ID card by phone, you can contact Medicare by calling the toll-free number at 772-1213. You should provide the representative with your Medicare number, as well as with any updates to your contact information. Alternatively, you can also visit the Resources section of the Medicare website in order to renew your Medicare ID card. Here, simply fill out the required information on the online form.
Cards for Medicare Part C and Part D
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.
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How Long Does The Process Take
It can take about 30 days for you to receive your replacement card once you notify the SSA or Medicare. Your card will be sent to the address on file.
If you requested a replacement and have not received it make sure to check what address is on file. If the address is incorrect you will have to update the SSA with your current address.
If the address is correct and you have not received your replacement card the call your local Social Security office to ask about your card replacement and confirm your request for replacement was received.
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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How To Get A New Medicare Card
There are several ways to get a new Medicare card. If you need to replace a card because its been damaged or lost, you can sign in to your MyMedicare.gov account and print an official copy of it.
If you need to replace a card because someone unauthorized may be using your plan, call 800-633-4227 . Additional information and steps for how to replace your card are outlined below.
Action Must Be Taken Now To Avoid Disruption
The new cards have a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier instead of the Social Security Number-based identifier known as the Health Insurance Claim Number .
Like HICNs, MBIs will be 11 characters in length and occupy the same field in Medicare transactions. However MBIs will be clearly distinguishable from HICNs and composed of only numbers and uppercase letters .
The transition from HICNs to MBIs will significantly impact physician practices workflows.
Practices must be prepared to use MBIs starting April 1, 2018, as patients new to the Medicare program beginning in April 2018 will only have cards with MBIs.
From April 1, 2018 to Dec. 31, 2019, CMS will accept both HICNs and MBIs on Medicare transactions for beneficiaries in the Medicare program prior to April 1, 2018 .
Beginning in Jan. 2020, physicians may only use MBIs.
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How To Protect Your Medicare Card
Medicare cards are made from paper, so they are likely to wear out from use over time. It is up to you to protect your card to keep it in good condition. You also need to safeguard your card to prevent identity theft of your Medicare information.
Some people consider laminating their card to protect it from wear and tear. The Social Security Administration does not recommend doing that, however, because laminating the card may interfere with its security features. Instead, use a clear plastic cardholder or sleeve to protect it from damage and keep it visible for your providers.
The Social Security Administration also suggests you consider photocopying your card. Keep the copy in a safe location, such as a lockbox or safe deposit box with other important documents.
You should also keep important numbers, including the Medicare phone number and the contact details for Medicare Advantage or Medigap providers, handy and in a safe place.
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Typically, your Medicare card will arrive in the mail within 30 days of enrollment. Those who are already receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board retirement benefits and are automatically enrolled in Medicare at age 65 will usually get their card a few months before their 65th birthday.
Those who you qualify for Medicare because of disability will get their Medicare card in the mail three months before their 25th month of disability benefits.
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Prepare For The New Medicare Card
From April 2018 to April 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will mail new Medicare cards to all active Medicare beneficiaries.
The New Medicare Cardformerly known as the Social Security Number Removal Initiative is occurring to implement a provision in the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act requiring the removal of Social Security numbers from Medicare cards due to concerns about identity theft.
What Insurance Companies Say To Do
Most insurance companies advise contacting them or visiting their online portal if you lose your Medicare card. Some ways you can obtain the information include:
- bringing your enrollment confirmation from your Medicare Advantage plan to the pharmacy, being sure it includes your plans name, enrollment confirmation number, and a phone number on how to contact the plan
- keeping a scanned copy of the front and back of your card in a safe place so you can access your policy number and key phone numbers to call
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How Do You Get Another Medicare Card
My card is lost or damaged Log into your Medicare account to print an official copy of your Medicare card. You can also call us at 1-800-MEDICARE to order a replacement card. TTY users can call 1-877-486-2048.
My name changed Your Medicare card shows the name you have on file with Social Security. Get details from Social Security if you legally changed your name.
Protect your identity
How Do Medicare Number Or Card Scams Work
The scammers may try to convince you that you need to pay a fee to have your card fixed or activated.
A scammer could call you and claim youre eligible for a refund for a service or treatment that was covered. They would then ask for your personal information such as your Medicare number or SSN. They could also ask for a credit card number or bank information to process your refund. Do NOT provide any of that information!
Another scam is an offer of free medical supplies. A scammer may contact you and claim that you can receive a free checkup, free services, treatments, or equipment. They will ask for your Medicare number or SSN. They may claim that they need that information to verify your identity.
Ultimately the scammers goal is to get your Medicare number, SSN, bank information, or credit card number. Do not provide those details to ANYONE who randomly contacts you over the phone. Once the scammers have your personal information they may use it to commit identity theft, fraud, or to steal money.
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Final Thoughts On Your Medicare Card
Overall, your Medicare card should be a convenient way for you to receive the benefits you deserve. It is advisable to print out a copy of your card in advance, so on the off chance that you do lose it, you will already have a copy ready. Although printing out a copy is convenient, make sure that you replace a lost card as soon as possible, to limit the chances that you are subject to Medicare fraud.
How Do You Replace Your Medicare Card
You can get a new copy of your card by logging onto your online Social Security account. If you dont have a Social Security account yet, youll have to create one to request a new card. Medicare beneficiaries can also call 1-800-772-1213 or contact their local Social Security office to receive a copy of their card.
According to the Health and Human Services Department, it can take about 30 days for your replacement card to arrive in the mail. You can also go online to your Medicare account and print a copy of your card from there until the official copy arrives.6
If you lost your Medicare card and believe that someone else might be using your number, call 1-800-MEDICARE .
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How To Protect Personal Medicare Information
Your Medicare beneficiary identifier number is private and personal. It is critical that you take the necessary steps to prevent identity theft and insurance fraud. For example:
- Never share your Medicare beneficiary identifier number with anyone except your healthcare providers.
- Never provide personal Medicare information to a person who emails or calls and asks for that information.
- Never let another person borrow your card to pay for services on your behalf.
- Check your Medicare Summary Notice to make sure that it is accurate. If you notice healthcare services that you did not receive, first call your healthcare provider to ask if there has been a billing error.
- If you are concerned about possible Medicare identity theft or fraudulent activity, you should contact Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE . TTY users call 1-877-486-2048.
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Do I Have To Do Anything During Medicare Open Enrollment
If youre happy with your current Medicare coverage, you dont need to do anything during the Annual Enrollment Period, also referred to as the Medicare Open Enrollment Period. Your plan will automatically renew, and your coverage will continue.
However, if your plan is ending or you want different coverage, AEP is the perfect time to make changes. During this period you can:
- Enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan.
- Switch to a new Medicare Advantage plan.
- Return to Original Medicare coverage.
- Enroll in a Part D plan.
- Switch to a new Part D plan.
Your current plan coverage will end at the end of December, and your new coverage will kick in January 1.
Are you eligible for cost-saving Medicare subsidies?