Wednesday, January 16, 2019

New Medicare Card Tips to Pass Along to Residents

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently completed a large-scale effort to provide new Medicare cards without Social Security numbers to people with Medicare. Over the past nine months, CMS sent new cards to more than 61 million people with Medicare across all U.S. states and territories. The agency touts completing the mailing ahead of schedule.

Each new Medicare card features a unique, randomly assigned Medicare number known as a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI). The MBI is a combination of letters and numbers that helps protect against personal identity theft and fraud. CMS mailed the new cards to all people with Medicare beginning in April 2018, as part of the legislation passed under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015.

CMS offers a number of tips and resources regarding the new Medicare cards:

Assistance Available 
For anyone with Medicare who has not received a new card by now, CMS offers these tips: 
  • Call 1-800-MEDICARE for assistance. They will verify your identity, check your address on record, and help you get your new card. 
  • Log into your gov account to get your new Medicare number or print your official card. The new Medicare number is now available in your account, even if you didn’t receive your card in the mail. Accounts are password-protected and secure. To access or create an account, visit
  • Ask your healthcare provider. Providers may be able to look up your Medicare number through a secure portal when you come in for healthcare services. 
Prioritizing Security
Although the new Medicare cards are designed to protect against identity theft, people with Medicare should continue to look out for scams. CMS offers these tips: 
  • Destroy your old Medicare card so no one can get your personal information
  • Start using your new Medicare card right away. Carry it when you need healthcare. Medicare coverage and benefits are the same. The new card does not impact or change your healthcare benefits. 
  • Keep your other plan cards. If you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO) or a Medicare Drug Plan, keep using that plan ID card whenever you need care or prescriptions. However, please carry and protect your new Medicare card too — you may be asked to show it. 
  • Protect your Medicare number just like a credit card. Only give the new Medicare number to doctors, pharmacists, other healthcare providers, insurers, or people you trust to work with Medicare on your behalf. Medicare will never call uninvited for your Medicare number or other personal information. 
Tips to Prevent Fraud

Video: Destroy Your Old Medicare Card

New Medicare Card webpage

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