Earlier this year, Medicare announced they’d be replacing the social security numbers on Medicare cards with randomly generated ID numbers. Until now, your Medicare ID number was your social security number with a letter appended to it. Since seniors carry their Medicare cards with them to use at appointments, their social security numbers were at risk of theft.
The new card will replace your ID with a random combination of letters and numbers. There is no system to assigning the numbers, so there’s no way for anyone to figure out your identity just from seeing your card. The update will also drop your sex from the card. Here’s a sample of the new card, provided by CMS:
Here are some things you should know about the new cards:
Don’t expect your new Medicare card just yet.
Since there are over 59 million members, Medicare will be sending out the cards in “waves.” The first two waves—comprising nine states, District of Columbia, and several overseas territories—began mailing in May 2018. New Jersey is in the fourth wave, and all we know right now is that the cards will begin mailing after June 2018. If you want to stay informed, you can sign up to get alerts about card mailing at Medicare.gov/NewCard.
Your Medicare card will come automatically in the mail, free of charge.
Some unscrupulous people are scamming seniors by calling and asking for payment for the new card. Other con men have been calling seniors, claiming to be from Medicare and asking for their social security numbers or bank information to “order” the new card. Remember that the card is free, and you do not need to do anything to receive it. Medicare will replace your old cards automatically. Keep in mind that Medicare will mail your card to the address on file in your account at the Social Security Administration. If you’ve recently moved into Park Crescent for long-term care, for example, make sure your address is updated with Social Security.
Keep your new Medicare card safe.
When you get your card, treat it just as you would any other health insurance card. Keep it safely in your wallet so you have it when you need it. Destroy your old card that contains your social security number by shredding it or cutting it up with scissors.
Your coverage stays the same.
All that will change is your ID number. Your coverage, co-payment amounts, and deductibles will stay the same. If you’re on Medicare Advantage, you will still need to keep your separate insurance card for treatment.
If you have any other questions about your new Medicare card, please leave a comment and we’ll do our best to address it.