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How to Request a Medicare Replacement Card

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Your Medicare card is proof that you have Medicare health coverage and, as a beneficiary, is one of the most important documents you own. When you receive treatment you may be asked by your provider to show your Medicare card as proof of insurance.

If you’re new to Medicare, you may be wondering how the process of requesting a Medicare card works. You’ll typically get your Medicare card when you first apply for Medicare benefits. Most people qualify for Medicare when they turn 65, while some individuals may qualify at any age through disability or certain health conditions, such as end-stage renal disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease).

Signing up for Medicare and the timing of when you apply for Medicare works differently depending on how you qualify for Medicare and, in some cases, whether you’re already receiving retirement benefits when you turn 65. This can all affect when you will receive your Medicare card.

Are you new to Medicare and wondering when you can expect your Medicare card in the mail? Or do you already have Medicare and need to replace a lost, stolen, or damaged Medicare card? Just scroll down to learn when your Medicare card will be mailed to you and how to request a Medicare card replacement.

When will my Medicare card arrive?

As mentioned, the process of applying for Medicare can vary depending on your particular situation and how you qualify for Medicare. This will affect the timing of when your Medicare card arrives in the mail as well. If you’re already receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board retirement benefits when you turn 65, you’ll be automatically enrolled in Medicare when you turn 65. Your Medicare card should be sent in the mail about three months before your 65th birthday. If you need to manually enroll in Medicare during your seven-month Initial Enrollment Period, the arrival of your Medicare card will depend on which month you signed up for Medicare. Your Initial Enrollment Period starts three months before your 65th birthday, includes your birthday month, and ends three months later.

If you qualify for Medicare because of disability, your Medicare card will arrive in the mail three months before your 25th month of disability benefits.

I need a Medicare replacement card

If your Medicare card is lost, stolen, or damaged, you can replace a Medicare card through the Social Security Administration or Railroad Retirement Board.

You have a few options:

  • Request a replacement Medicare card online through your My Social Security account. If you don’t have an account, you can create one here. If you’ve recently moved or changed your name, you can also update the information Medicare has on file for you through your account.
  • Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY users, call 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday, from 7AM to 7PM.
  • Visit your local Social Security office.
  • If you worked for a railroad, request a replacement card through the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB). You can also call the RRB at 1-877-772-5772 (TTY users, call 1-312-751-4701), Monday through Friday, 9AM to 3:30PM.

Your replacement Medicare card will be mailed to you about 30 days after you submit your request. The card will be sent to your address on file, so contact Social Security or the RRB to update your address if you’ve recently moved. You can also update your address and contact information yourself by logging into your My Social Security account.

If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, or other type of Medicare plan, you may have a separate insurance card. If you need to replace your card, contact your Medicare plan directly for more information on getting a replacement card.

I need a replacement Medicare card sooner than 30 days

In some cases, you may need a Medicare replacement card sooner (for example, if you need proof of coverage for a doctor appointment that’s coming up or to fill a prescription). Social Security (or the RRB) can provide a letter that you can use as temporary proof of Medicare coverage. This letter will be mailed to you in about 10 days; contact Social Security (or the RRB) to request this letter.

If you can’t wait 10 days and need proof of Medicare coverage immediately, visit your local Social Security office or Railroad Retirement Board office in person.

Do you have questions about how to request a Medicare card? Once you’re enrolled in Medicare, you may have other coverage options as well, including Medicare prescription drug coverage, Medicare Supplement insurance, and Medicare Advantage plans. If you’d like help figuring out Medicare plan options that could work for you, contact eHealth to speak with a licensed insurance agent.

This website and its contents are for informational purposes only. Nothing on the website should ever be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always consult with your medical provider regarding diagnosis or treatment for a health condition, including decisions about the correct medication for your condition, as well as prior to undertaking any specific exercise or dietary routine.


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