By the GWAAR Legal Services Team (for reprint)
Starting September 2017, Medicare recipients began receiving information about the new Medicare cards. You can use this quick guide for any questions you have.
Why is Medicare changing my card?
To help protect your identity. Current Medicare cards use your Social Security number to identify you. The new cards will use a different, unique number so that the chances of fraud and identity theft are minimized should you ever lose your card.
Will the new Medicare card change any of my program benefits?
No. If you currently receive any part of Medicare (Part A, Part B, Part C, or Part D), a Medicare Supplement Policy, or any other public benefits (FoodShare, Medicaid, SeniorCare, BadgerCare Plus, etc.), your benefits will not change just because you receive a new Medicare card. If you notice your benefits change, it will be for some other reason (eligibility or a mistake), so you should contact 1-800-MEDICARE or your Elder Benefits Specialist right away.
When will I get my new card?
Between April 2018 and April 2019. CMS (The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services) will begin mailing new cards starting in April 2018, and will slowly roll out new cards to all beneficiaries through April, 2019. It might take a while for you to receive your new card. If you have not received your new card by the end of April, 2019, contact 1-800-MEDICARE or your Elder Benefits Specialist.
Can I keep using the Medicare card I have?
Yes. You should continue to use the Medicare card you have now until you receive your new one in the mail. When you get your new card in the mail, read about how you should keep your new card safe and how to shred the old card to best protect your identity.
Where can I get more information?
• 2018 Medicare & You Handbook
• The Medicare website: https://www.medicare.gov/
• Your local Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC)
As always, Medicare and CMS will not call or email you regarding your new card – you will only receive information through the mail. Therefore, if anyone calls or emails you about your new or old Medicare number, hang up or delete the message. Additionally, there is no charge for the new Medicare card. Finally, make sure you update your address should you move, and regularly check your mailbox (or have a trusted person check for you) until you get your new card.