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Medicare Card - What You Should Know

When you're new to Medicare, your red, white and blue Medicare card should arrive in the mail about 3 months before your Medicare eligibility. Most people are automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and/or B. You will receive your card for the Medicare parts in which you are automatically enrolled.

Your Medicare card will include your name, type of coverage, when your coverage begins, and your Medicare claim number.

If you were not automatically enrolled, your Medicare card will arrive within 30 days after you manually enroll.

If both you and your spouse receive Medicare benefits, your spouse will receive his or her own Medicare card. Remember, you and your spouse will have different Medicare claim numbers, so be careful not to mix them up.

Applying for a Medicare Card

Not automatically enrolled? Visit www.Medicare.gov and click "Apply Online for Medicare Now" to get started.

When you manually apply for Medicare coverage or make other updates (for example, you were only automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A, but you want to add Medicare Part B), you will receive a Medicare card replacement to include your changes. Your new Medicare card will arrive within 30 days. It will be mailed to the last address that Social Security has on file, so be sure to keep your address with the Social Security Administration up to date.

Replacing a lost, stolen or damaged Medicare Card

If you lost your red, white and blue Medicare card, or if it was damaged, you can order a replacement at www.socialsecurity.gov. Report stolen Medicare cards immediately.

Be ready to provide information to help identify you, such as:

  • The amount of your last Medicare payment or the month and year you last received payment if you received benefits within the last year
  • The name as it appears on your Social Security card
  • Your Social Security number
  • Your birth date
  • Your phone number
  • Other security information like place of birth or mother's maiden name

Can't wait 30 days? If you have a doctor's appointment and need your Medicare card right away, call 1-800-772-1213, or your local Social Security office. (For Railroad Retirement Board, call 1-877-772-5772.) They can send you a letter showing proof of Medicare coverage in about ten days. If you need it even sooner than that, visit your local Social Security office in person to pick up a Proof-of-Coverage letter.

Using Your Medicare Card

Always take your Medicare card with you whenever you go for health care services. Show your card upon arrival to ensure your claims are processed accurately. If you received a Medicare card replacement, make sure your doctor sees your updated card at your next office visit.

Do not give your Medicare card to anyone else to use. Treat it just like a credit card. Keep it safe and do not give out your number to anyone who isn't providing your health care.

When you need to call Medicare, have your card handy so you can provide your claim number when asked.



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Medicare Advantage Plans, sometimes called "Part C" or "MA Plans," are offered by private companies approved by Medicare and provide Medicare Part A and Part B coverage. Medicare prescription drug coverage is insurance run by an insurance company or other private company approved by Medicare. A Medicare Supplement plan is a health insurance plan provided by a private company that fills in the "gaps" in original Medicare coverage.

 
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