Starting in April 2018, Medicare will begin sending new cards to people who receive Medicare benefits.
What You Need To Know
- All existing Medicare cards should be replaced by April 2019.
- The new cards will no longer display SSN-based Medicare numbers.
- Both old cards and new cards can be used from April 2018 to January 2020.
- Starting January 1, 2020, new Medicare cards will need to be used and old cards will no longer be accepted.
FAQs About The New Card
Q: Why am I getting a new Medicare card?
A: To put it simply, these new cards will help protect Medicare enrollees against fraud and identity theft. The number on your current card is based on your social security number.
While the new number on your Medicare card is also unique for every individual, it’s a totally random set of 11 numbers and capital letters. The characters are not based on anything, nor do they have any hidden meaning. By removing the social security numbers from Medicare cards, it strengthens fraud protections for about 58 million Americans.
Q: Will my new card affect my Medicare benefits?
A: No, not at all. Those who receive new Medicare cards this coming year are people who are already enrolled in Medicare. Your plan, benefits, and coverage will stay exactly the same.
Q: So now that I have a new card, am I still at risk for fraud?
A: With any card that’s personal to you, there’s always a risk for identity theft. It’s important that you treat your new card like a credit card. Do not share your Medicare card number with anyone who shouldn’t have it.
No one from Medicare will ever contact you asking for personal information unless permission had been granted prior to the phone call. So if someone calls you claiming to be from Medicare services and tells you 1) they need your Medicare card number, 2) you won’t receive your Medicare benefits unless you give it to them, or 3) there is a charge for your new Medicare card, you can go ahead and assume it’s a scam and hang up immediately.
Q: When will I get my new Medicare card and what happens when I do?
A: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, more commonly known as CMS, will start mailing out new cards in April 2018, with a deadline of April 2019. The mail order is randomly generated by geographic location, so don’t worry if your friends get their Medicare cards before you… yours is coming! You can start using your new Medicare card as soon as you receive it, and you’ll be instructed to safely and securely dispose of your old one.
Q: It’s April 2019 and I don’t have my new Medicare card! What should I do?
A: Don’t panic. You’ll receive your new Medicare card soon. In case of instances like these, CMS has issued a 21-month transition period. This means that from April 2018 to January 2020, you can use either your old Medicare card or your new Medicare card to help ease the changeover. However, after January 1, 2020, you must use your new card for all your Medicare needs.