By Greg Dill

The new Medicare card with a private number, and no Social Security number, will be arriving soon in mailboxes of Medicare recipients.
Courtesy Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Medicare Regional Administrator for Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada and the Pacific Territories

In April 2018, Medicare will mail new Medicare cards to all people with Medicare, to help protect from identity fraud.

Fraudsters are always looking for ways to get a Social Security number, so Medicare is removing those numbers from its cards, which will make them safer.

The new card will have a new Medicare number that’s unique to each person. The new card will help protect people’s identity and keep their personal information more secure.

The new card may be used as soon as it is received. Medicare coverage and benefits won’t change at all.

Medicare will automatically mail the new card — at no cost — to the address on file with Social Security. So, make sure one’s mailing address is up to date.

If the address needs to be corrected, contact Social Security at ssa.gov/myaccount or 1-800-772-1213. TTY users can call 1-800-325-0778.

If Social Security has the current mailing address, there’s nothing else anyone needs to do to receive the new card.

Mailing everyone a new card will take time. The card might arrive at a different time than a friend’s or neighbor’s card.

Once the new Medicare card arrives, take these three steps to make it harder for someone to steal the information and identity:

1. Destroy the old Medicare card immediately.

2. Doctors, other healthcare providers, and health plans approved by Medicare know the old cards are being replaced with new identify numbers. They are ready to accept the new card when anyone needs care.

3. Beware of anyone who asks for the new Medicare number or personal information, or to pay a fee for the new card. There are no charges whatsoever for the new cards.

Scam artists may try to get personal information (such as the current Medicare number). If someone asks for this information, or for money, or threatens to cancel health benefits if you don’t share your personal information, hang up and call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

The new Medicare card will be paper. Paper cards are easier for many providers to use and copy, and they save taxpayers a lot of money. Plus, it is easy for individuals to print their own replacement card if needed.

If a new card is forgotten, doctors or other healthcare providers may be able to look up the new Medicare number online.

If one is in a Medicare Advantage plan (such as an HMO or PPO), the Medicare Advantage plan ID card is the main card for Medicare. Keep and use it whenever care is needed. However, one should carry this card with them, too.

If the new Medicare card is not received by April 2019, call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users can call 1-877-486-2048.

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