Your Medicare card is pretty straightforward as it includes:
- Your name
- Your Medicare claim number
- If you have part A (hospital coverage), part B (medical coverage), or both
- The date your coverage started
For the most part, these red, white, and blue cards have stayed the same since their creation in 1965, but starting this year (April 2018), Medicare is sending out new cards.
Your Medicare Claim Number.
See it on your card? Right under your name?
Right now, it’s either your spouse’s or your own Social Security Number followed by a letter that indicates what kind of coverage you have.
Your new card will have a “Medicare Number” that is specific to you and separate from your Social Security Number. Think of this number as your insurance member ID number. It’s a safer alternative to using your SSN as your Medicare claim number.
Why is it changing?
For your safety and security.
Your Social Security Number is used throughout your lifetime to track your financial information like your wage earnings, benefits administration, and tax information. Since it’s linked to your sensitive, private information, it’s vital to protect your SSN from unnecessary exposure.
If your Social Security Number falls into the wrong hands, it can be used to:
- Open bank accounts
- Apply for credit cards and loans
- Seek medical treatment using your medical records
- File false claims on your health insurance
- Steal your Social Security benefits
- File fraudulent tax refunds
- Taint your criminal record
Would you want to carry that kind of risk around in your wallet? Of course not! That’s why your Medicare card is getting an upgrade.
When will I get my new card?
The good news: Medicare will automatically mail your new card when it’s ready. You don’t have to do a thing!
The not-so-good-news: Getting your new Medicare card might take a few days, a couple of weeks, or even a few months. Medicare is rolling out new cards between April 2018 and April 2019. In the meantime, your healthcare providers may be able to look up your new Medicare number using the information off of your current card.
Will it affect my coverage?
No! Your coverage and benefits won’t change at all.
Even if I have a Medicare Advantage Plan?
If you’re currently covered under a Medicare Advantage plan offered from private insurers such as Humana, Aetna, or United Healthcare, etc., then the card issued by your Medicare Advantage plan is still the main card you will use when providing your insurance information.
Hold onto your new Medicare card just in case your healthcare providers need to update your new Medicare number, but your coverage and your Medicare Advantage ID number won’t change. The new Medicare card will be useful when applying for new coverage.
What do I do with my old card?
Remember, Medicare is changing your Medicare number to protect you and your information.
Destroy your old card once it has been replaced, but don’t just toss it in the trash bin. Shred it, burn it, or cut it and toss the bits ‘n’ pieces of your card into different waste baskets to keep it safely away from prying eyes.