Understanding How Your Medicare Card Works in 2017

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Understanding Your Medicare Card

Understanding Your Medicare CardEvery enrollee receives a card in the mail that serves as proof of his or her coverage. The red, white, and blue card includes your name, claim number, sex, and indicates the effective dates for Part A and Part B (if enrolled). This page explains your Medicare card, when you need to use it, how to get a replacement card, and more.

If you enrolled in Part D prescription drug coverage, you’ll receive a separate card. In addition, you’ll get a different card if you signed up for a Part C (Advantage) or Medigap (Supplement) plan. The insurance company that you enrolled with will send you these cards.

When do I need my card?

If you need health care, show your card to the doctor’s office or hospital so they can bill Medicare for the services. It’s best to carry it with you while you are away from home.

Do not share your card or claim number with anyone other than the health care staff who need to use it. Your card number is usually very similar to your Social Security number, which should always be kept safe to protect your identity.

What if I lose it?

Lost or damaged your card? No problem—you can get a new copy from the Social Security Administration. There are two ways to replace your card: online or by phone.

  • Online. To get a replacement card using the Internet, simply log in to your Social Security account using the government website. Choose the “Replacement Documents” tab and then follow the instructions for getting a replacement card by mail.
  • By phone. Call the Social Security Administration directly by phone to get a replacement card. You can contact your local Social Security office or call the national toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213.

Once you’ve requested a replacement card, you should receive one by mail within 30 days. Check that your address is current with Social Security to ensure you receive your card.

Does it expire?

If you have Part A and Part B, your coverage—and card—do not expire unless you choose to enroll in alternative coverage. You can use it as long as you have coverage.

If at any point you choose to enroll in a Part D, Part C, or Medigap plan, you’ll receive an additional card from the insurance company. These alternate cards may have expiration dates. However, your card provided by Social Security will not expire.

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