In 2018, in a long-overdue move to protect your privacy, the government mailed new Medicare cards to over 59 million people with Medicare.
- Cards now have a new Medicare number to protect you from identity theft.
- You should have received your new Medicare card by April 2019.
- Your Medicare benefits will not change.
The new Medicare card no longer includes your Social Security number and signature for everyone to see. However, this much-improved Medicare card keeps the familiar red, white, and blue color scheme.
Medicare Numbers Will Replace Social Security Numbers
The new card comes with a unique, personal Medicare number (also called a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier or MBI). Your new Medicare number has 11 random letters and numbers. These secure numbers are confidential and private, like your Social Security number.
Your Medicare number will replace your Social Security number for Medicare billing purposes. Removing your Social Security information from your official Medicare card will help protect your identity. Lawmakers, Medicare administrators, and the general public requested this change. But, identity thieves are very upset.
If You Lose Your Medicare Number: visit MyMedicare.gov to look up your number or print a replacement card.
The New Medicare Card Protects Your Private Health Information
The card no longer includes your signature and gender information. With these changes, it’s much harder for stolen cards or unscrupulous doctors to put you in danger. Historically, Medicare cards were not intended for use as identity documents.
Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage companies have been asked to remove Social Security numbers from their cards as well.
Positive Design Changes
The new Medicare card is smaller than before so that it’s easier to store along with your credit cards. As a result of the redesign, the card is simpler for you and your doctors to read.
If your card is lost, stolen or damaged, you’ll be able to replace it as usual. The new card should be easier to protect now that it’s a different size.
The new Medicare card also decreases regional oddities between cards. All new cards are bilingual, with sections in both English and Spanish. Cards will arrive on white paper if they previously used color paper, even for Puerto Rico.
Attention Medicare Advantage Members and RRB Beneficiaries
Medicare Advantage: If you have Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C), then you probably don’t carry your Original Medicare card on a daily basis. You should have received a replacement Original Medicare card with a new Medicare number in the mail. This change will keep your information more secure if you do need to use your Medicare card.
RRB: If your Medicare coverage comes from the Railroad Retirement Board, you got a new Medicare card, too. Your card has a Medicare number in place of your Social Security number. As with many of your Medicare communications, it came from the Railroad Retirement Board instead of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Protect Yourself From Medicare Card Scams!
Safety from scammers is still important when dealing with Medicare. Remember that no government agency will ask you to give personal or private information, including your Medicare number, over the phone.
If you move, be sure to change your address with Social Security by calling 1-800-772-1213.
Still have space in your wallet? As you go through your Medicare files, take the chance to review your Medicare benefits. Use our Medicare search tool to discover affordable extra coverage near you.