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Understanding Your New Medicare Card in 2018


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Whether you’re new to Medicare or a longtime beneficiary, a new Medicare card may be coming your way in 2018.

The biggest change is that your Medicare number won’t be your Social Security number anymore. Everyone will still have a unique Medicare number, but it won’t be the same as your Social Security number. This change is meant to help protect your identity.

How do I get my new Medicare card?

You’ll get the Medicare card automatically mailed to your home , in most cases. But make sure your home address is up to date with Social Security, because that’s the address that will be used to get your new card. If you need to update your address with Social Security, you can contact the agency:

  • By phone, by calling 1-800-772-1213. TTY users can call 1-800-325-0778. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, from 7AM to 7PM in all time zones.
  • Online, by visiting ssa.gov
  • In person, by visiting your local Social Security office. Click here to find your local office and its business hours.

If you receive your Medicare benefits through the Railroad Retirement Board, you can call them at 1-877-772-5772. TTY users call 1-312-751-4701. Monday through Friday, 9AM to 3:30PM (9AM-noon Wednesdays), to speak to an RRB representative. Times listed are for all time zones.

When will I get my new Medicare card?

The government will start mailing the new Medicare cards in April 2018. It may take some time for all the new Medicare cards to be mailed; different people will get them at different times. 

What should I do with my old Medicare card?

According to Medicare’s website, you should destroy your old Medicare card when you get your new one. You can use your new Medicare card as soon as you get it. Make sure you carry it with you so you’ll have it handy at doctor appointments, or whenever you may need medical care.

How should I share the information on my new Medicare card?

Only give your new Medicare number to those who really need to see it:  your doctor and other health-care providers, your pharmacist, and trusted family members.

Be careful if someone calls you and asks for your personal information or your new Medicare card number. Medicare may ask you for your card number if you call Medicare, but Medicare typically doesn’t call you and ask for this information. Protect your private information and don’t share it unless it’s really necessary.

What if I have a Medicare Advantage plan, a Medicare Prescription Drug plan, or other coverage?

You should still hang onto your new Medicare card even if you have other coverage, but you also need to carry your health insurance card with you if you have any other coverage, such as:

  • A Medicare Advantage plan
  • A Medicare Prescription Drug Plan
  • A Medicare Supplement plan
  • Any other health insurance

What if I lose my new Medicare card?

You can contact the Social Security Administration if you lose your new Medicare card and need to replace it.

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