The mailing of new Medicare cards is in full swing, and federal officials have some tips for what beneficiaries should do once their cards arrive.
When you get your new card, the envelope will include a letter directing you to destroy your old Medicare identification. Because the old card includes your Social Security number, it might be a good idea to shred it. The letter also says that you can start using your new identification right away and that none of your benefits will change.
Medicare is replacing the old cards with new identification cards that contain an 11-digit number that’s unique to each of the 60 million beneficiaries. Congress mandated this change to make the Medicare cards more secure and protect people against identity fraud.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has included a Spanish-language version of the letter in the mailing and provided a notice in 15 languages that directs people to call Medicare at 800-633-4227 if they have questions about the new card.
Beneficiaries who are covered under a Medicare Advantage plan will still need to use that card when getting medical services. The same is true for those who get their medications through a Part D prescription drug plan.
All new enrollees are automatically receiving the new card. Beneficiaries in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia began getting their cards in May. Cards just began going out to enrollees in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and the territories of American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. The government has until April 2019 to mail all the new cards.