Your Medicare card is being replaced.
For many seniors their red white and blue Medicare card is one of their most important possessions. The card lists your name and related Social Security Number and shows the dates you became eligible for health overage under Medicare Parts A and B. The card is your entry ticket for services by hospitals, physicians, and other health care providers.
Beginning in April 2018 Medicare will start issuing new cards. The new cards will replace the Social Security number on the card with a new Medicare number. You should receive your new card sometime between April 1, 2018 and April 1, 2019.
Here are some things you should know about these new cards.
- You don’t need to take any action to get your new Medicare card.
- The new card won’t change your Medicare coverage or benefits.
- Medicare will never ask you to give them personal or private information to get your new Medicare Number and card.
- There’s no charge for your new card.
The new cards are being issued as a result of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015. That law requires Medicare to remove Social Security Numbers from all Medicare cards by April 2019. They will be replaced by a new 11-character Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) which will be used for Medicare transactions like billing, eligibility status, and claim status. Your new card will look like something like this:
The new MBI numbers and cards are being issued in order to fight identify theft.
The cards will be mailed out on a geographic basis. There will be a transition period during which you can use either your old SSN based claims number or your new MBI. The transition period will end on December 31, 2019.
After the transition period ends on January 1, 2020, you will generally need to use your MBI on Medicare claims.
Medicare health and drug plans (e.g. Medicare Advantage plans) will also have to change your ID claim number if the existing numbers include whole or parts of the beneficiary’s Social Security Number
Watch out for scams
Be very careful if you are contacted about your new Medicare card. Medicare warns that scam artists may try to get your current Medicare Number and other personal information by contacting you about your new Medicare card. They may claim to be from Medicare and use various scams to get your Medicare Number. Medicare beneficiaries should expect that scammers will try to take advantage of confusion surrounding the issuing of new cards. For example, scammers may call you:
- Asking you to confirm your Medicare or Social Security Number so they can send you a new card.
- Telling you there’s a charge for your new card and they need to verify your personal information.
- Threatening to cancel your health benefits if you don’t share your Medicare Number or other personal information.
These will be fraudulent calls. Do NOT give out your Social Security Number, MBI, or other personal information to the caller. If someone calls you and asks for your Medicare Number or other personal information, HANG UP. If you want you can report the fraudulent call to Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).
What you Should Do
- Make sure your mailing address is up-to-date. If your address needs to be corrected, contact Social Security at gov/myaccount or 1-800-772-1213. TTY: 1-800-325-0778.
- Remember Medicare will never ask you to give them personal or private information to get your new Medicare number and card.
For the most updated information on the New Medicare Card please go to https://www.cms.gov/newcard