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Start Using Your New Medicare Card by Year’s End

Doctors can’t file claims with the old identification numbers after Dec. 31, 2019

new Medicare Health Insurance card


En español | Next time you go to the doctor or other health care provider, be sure to bring your new Medicare card and make sure they have your new number on file. The federal health insurance program’s more than 61 million enrollees have received the new identification, which replaces Social Security numbers with a combination of letters and numbers that federal officials say will help protect against identity theft and fraud.

Congress mandated that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) mail new identification cards to all Medicare beneficiaries by April 2019. The new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI), is an 11-character, randomly assigned number that has no connection to an enrollee’s personal information. 

CMS has these tips for beneficiaries on how to use your new card and what to do if you did not receive your new card or need a replacement:

  • If you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO), your Medicare Advantage Plan ID card is your main card for Medicare — you should still keep and use it whenever you need care.
  • If you have a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, be sure to keep that card as well
  • Even if you are in an Medicare Advantage or Part D plan, you also may be asked to show your Medicare card, so keep it with you.
  • If you didn’t get a new card or need a replacement, call 800-MEDICARE (633-4227). Operators are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The representative can order you a new card.
  • To just get your new Medicare number, go to and log on to your account.
  • You can also ask your health care provider to look up your number

Medicare also suggests that beneficiaries destroy their old card as soon as they get their new one and start using the new card. 

CMS officials also suggest beneficiaries protect their new Medicare card as they would any credit card. They say to give the new Medicare number only to doctors, pharmacists and other health care providers or insurers — or caregivers and others you trust to communicate with Medicare on your behalf. CMS stresses that Medicare will never call to ask for a beneficiary’s Medicare number or other personal information.