How to Get a Replacement Medicare Card

Updated on: October 23rd, 2020

Reviewed by Diane Omdahl

We aim to help you make informed healthcare decisions. While this post may contain links to lead generation forms, this won’t influence our writing. We follow strict editorial standards to give you the most accurate and unbiased information.

If you’re one of the 61.4 million Americans with Medicare and your card was lost, stolen or damaged, or you never got an updated card in 2019, what do you do?1

Not to worry. There are a few different ways to get a new or replacement card. No matter how or when you enroll in Medicare, you’ll receive your Medicare card in the mail.

If you need a new card, first make sure your information is up to date. Medicare uses the name and address you have on file with Social Security. You can check it by visiting the My Profile tab at ssa.gov/myaccount.

What You Need to Know

You can replace your Medicare card three ways: online, telephone or in person.

Never share your Medicare Beneficiary Identifier with anyone unless you trust them, such as your doctor or pharmacist.

You should get your replacement card within a month although you request a temporary proof membership and get it in about 10 days.

How Do You Get a Replacement Medicare Card?

There are three ways to get a replacement card.

Online

You can sign into your MyMedicare.gov account to print an official copy of your Medicare card. If you don’t already have an account, it’s easy to set one up. If you’d rather have a card mailed, you can request it through the site. 

You can also request a replacement Medicare card through Social Security at ssa.gov. Log in to your account and select the “Replacement Documents” tab. Then select “Mail my replacement Medicare Card.” 

Telephone

Call Medicare at 800-MEDICARE (633-4227), or Social Security at 800-772-1213, to get a new card. The best times to call are during off-peak hours, in midmorning or midafternoon. Try not to call first thing in the morning, during lunch hours or late Friday afternoons. 

In person

Visit your local Social Security office to get a replacement card. Check ahead to see what days and times the office is open. 

Did you get your new Medicare card?

All Medicare beneficiaries were supposed to get new cards by April 2019 featuring a randomly generated Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI),2 This card uses numbers and letters, instead of a Social Security number.  This is meant to prevent identity theft. If you still haven’t gotten one, request a replacement card. Medicare recommends that you destroy the old card with your Social Security number on it when your new one arrives.  

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What if You’re New to Medicare? 

That depends on your enrollment status.

There are certain situations that result in automatic Medicare enrollment. Examples include those turning 65 who are already receiving Social Security retirement benefits and those under 65 who have been receiving Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits for 24 months. These individuals will receive their Medicare cards in the mail about two to three months before the effective date. 

Those who are not enrolled automatically must take action to enroll in Medicare. These Medicare cards will arrive about 15 to 30 days after enrolling. 

If you are requesting a replacement, this card will also arrive within a month after the request. If you need your new Medicare card more quickly, you can request a temporary letter as proof of membership, which you should receive in about 10 days. Or, you can visit the mymedicare.gov site and print a temporary card.

Highlights

If you think someone is using your you suspect someone else is using your Medicare Beneficiary Identifier, contact Social Security right away.

What if You Signed Up Through the Railroad Retirement Board? 

The Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) oversees Medicare for railroad workers. In 2019, there were 535,000 people in the U.S. who received Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) Benefits. The same year, the RRB automatically enrolled nearly 24,900 beneficiaries for Medicare.3

If you are receiving RRB Benefits prior to 65, you are enrolled automatically in Medicare at age 65 and your card will arrive about two months before that. If you aren’t receiving benefits before 65, you will need to take steps to enroll in Medicare.

Online

Visit rrb.gov to fill out the request form for a replacement card. Confirm the address on file for you is up to date. The new card will be mailed to you within 30 days.4

Telephone 

Call the RRB National Telephone Service at (877) 772-5772.

In person

Visit the website to find your local RRB Field Office. Check ahead to see what days and times the office is open. 

Next Steps

You shouldn’t have a problem getting your replacement Medicare card. But once you do get it, take care with it. Don’t share your Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) with anyone unless they have your permission in advance.5 You should only give your information to doctors, pharmacists, or other providers you trust to work with Medicare on your behalf.6 If you suspect someone else is using your MBI, contact Social Security right away.7

If you haven’t received your new card after 30 days, contact Medicare.

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  1. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “CMS Fast Facts February 2020.” cms.gov (accessed May 2020).

  2. California Medical Association. “CMS to Remove SSNs From All Medicare Cards by April 2019.” cmadocs.org, April 6, 2017 (accessed May 13, 2020).

  3. U.S. Railroad Retirement Board. “Agency Overview.” rrb.gov (accessed May 2020).

  4. U.S. Railroad Retirement Board. “About Your Replacement Medicare Card.” rrb.gov (accessed May 2020).

  5. U.S. Government Site for Medicare. “Identity theft: protect yourself.” medicare.gov (accessed May 2020).

  6. U.S. Government Site for Medicare. “10 things to know about your new Medicare card.” medicare.gov (accessed May 2020).

  7. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “What do Medicare Beneficiary Identifiers (MBIs) mean for health care providers & office managers?” cms.gov (accessed May 2020).