New Medicare Cards Are Coming, Here's What to Know

Are you on Medicare or will be soon? Then this news is for you.

Important changes are coming to Medicare. The changes have nothing to do with the benefits you currently receive or will receive in the future. Those will remain the same.

The change you will see is that sometime between April 2018 and April 2019 you will receive a new Medicare card in the mail. Why a whole year? Understand that mailing everyone that is on Medicare a new card will take some time. Your card might arrive at a different time than your friend’s or neighbor. You can start using your new card as soon as you receive it.

The new card will no longer have your social security number. Removing your social security number will keep your personal information more secure and protect your identity. This is the main reason Medicare is switching over to the new cards. A federal legislative action passed in 2015 requires that all social security numbers be removed from Medicare cards no later than April 2019. Your new card will have a new Medicare number that is unique to you and will only be used for Medicare coverage and nothing else. Again, the new card will not change your coverage or your benefits.

Here are a few things you should know about your new card:

  • Your new card will automatically come to you.  Just make sure Medicare has your correct mailing address.  If you’d like to make sure Medicare has your correct address contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213.
  • Your new card is paper which will make it easier for many of your health care providers to use and copy.
  • Once you get your new card destroy your old one and start using your new one.
  • Doctors, other health care providers, pharmacies and health care facilities know the new cards are coming and will ask for your new Medicare card so carry it with you. Only give your new Medicare number to doctors, pharmacists, health care providers, your insurers or people you trust to work with Medicare on your behalf.
  • Watch out for scams. Medicare never calls you and asks that you give them personal or private information.  If you do receive a call asking for your personal information hang up and call Medicare at 1-800-633-4227.
  • Medicare is working closely with other payers such as Medicaid and supplemental insurers to make sure that the crossover claims process works like it does now.

The information you have been reading is being brought to you by the Senior Action Network.  Founded in 1999, the Senior Action Network was created by local senior service providers.  Today SAN is the premiere networking group for companies in Thurston, Mason and Lewis counties that work with seniors. As a non-profit organization, SAN provides numerous events, programs, and resources to the local senior community. Written by Polo Enriquez, Olympia Respiratory Services