I’ve heard we’re all getting new Medicare cards. Is that true?
Yes. The new cards will be mailed out during the next 12 months. Everyone who’s enrolled in Medicare will receive a card with a new 11-digit identification number — a number that isn’t your Social Security number — between now and March 31, 2019.
Your new card will arrive in a plain envelope. That’s intentional, says Maura Carley, president of Healthcare Navigation, a health insurance consultant. The rollout implements a long-in-the-works plan to fight identity theft and Medicare fraud. “The government doesn’t want to send you a big envelope that announces ‘Medicare Card Enclosed.’ ”
Here’s what you need to know:
Your new card will be mailed to the address Social Security has on record for you; so if necessary, you should update that address.
If you’re enrolled in traditional Medicare, you should start using the new card as soon as you receive it. Give it to all medical providers who process your Medicare Part A and Part B claims (hospitals, doctors, laboratories, etc.), and to your supplemental Medicare insurer if you have supplemental coverage.
The new cards have no effect on Medicare Part D, which covers prescription drugs. If you have prescription drug coverage through a Part D plan, continue using your prescription drug plan card. (It doesn’t have your Social Security number on it.)
If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you should continue to use your Advantage Plan card. (That card doesn’t have your Social Security number on it, either.) “Save your new Medicare card in a secure location in case you choose to return to original Medicare at a future date,” says Carley.
THE BOTTOM LINE
All Medicare enrollees will receive new Medicare cards during the next 12 months.