New Medicare cards

Coming to your mailbox soon

Here’s some important news if you have Medicare: You’ll be getting a new Medicare card in the mail if you haven’t already. Medicare started mailing the new cards in April of this year and is expected to have them to all Medicare recipients by April 2019.

Illinois Medicare recipients are scheduled to get their new cards after June 2018.

You might be wondering how your new card will be different and what kind of effect it will have on your Medicare benefits. The most important thing to know: Your new Medicare card does not change any of your coverage or benefits.

What’s different about the new cards?

Your Medicare card will no longer display your Social Security number. Instead, your card will show a new Medicare number—an 11-character combination of numbers and letters that have been assigned to uniquely identify your personal account.

The change comes as part of a fraud prevention initiative by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). By removing Social Security numbers from Medicare cards, CMS hopes to better protect people with Medicare from identity theft and safeguard taxpayer money.

4 tips for using your new Medicare card

  1. Be patient with delivery. New card issues are being staggered between now and April 2019. Don’t worry if a friend or neighbor receives their card before you.
  2. Destroy your old card when your new one arrives. There’s no activation period. You may use your new card as soon as you receive it.
  3. Protect the information on your new card. Your new Medicare number is personally identifiable information. Keep it confidential in the same way you would your Social Security number, and only give the new number to doctors, pharmacists, health care providers, insurers and others whom you trust who work with Medicare.
  4. Hold on to your Medicare Advantage card if you have one. If you’re part of a Medicare Advantage Plan, like an HMO or PPO, keep your plan ID card to use when you need care. Be sure to carry your new Medicare card with you, as well, in case you are asked to present it.

Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services