If you have been on Medicare for at least a couple of years, you should have received a new Medicare card. Between April 2018 and April 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) mailed new Medicare cards to more than 60 million Medicare beneficiaries.

As of 2020, you must use the new Medicare card, as claims won’t be paid with the old cards. That means your providers will need your new Medicare card.

If you qualified for Medicare in 2019 or later, you likely have the new card.

What changes with the new Medicare card? 

The new Medicare card no longer displays your Social Security number. Instead, your new Medicare card will feature a Medicare number that is unique to you, called a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI). By replacing your Social Security number with an MBI, Medicare helps protect you from fraud and identity theft, which CMS says is a growing concern among Americans of all ages.

What doesn’t change with the new Medicare card?

Your Medicare benefits won’t change because of your new MBI. Your new Medicare card displays your Part A and Part B coverage and the dates your coverage starts. Even if you have a Medicare Advantage plan card, you should still carry your new Medicare card as well.

How do you get the new Medicare card?

You don’t need to request the new Medicare card. You will receive the new Medicare card in the mail. And you don’t have to pay for the new Medicare card.

If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan, you can generally keep using your plan membership card as you do now. Your Medicare Advantage plan and/or Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan will mail you a new Medicare card with your MBI if the plan currently uses your Social Security number.

When do you use your new Medicare card?

Once you get your new Medicare card, you should destroy your old card and start using your new card right away. Show it to insurance personnel when you receive health-care services and supplies. Your new Medicare card is your most convenient proof of Medicare coverage.

Medicare cautions people to be wary of con artists who may try to take advantage of the new Medicare card issuance. Keep in mind the following points:

  • You don’t have to pay for your card. If someone calls you, demanding that you pay in order to get your new card, it is a scam. Hang up and report the call to Medicare.
  • If a caller asks for your personal information such as your Medicare number or your Social Security number, hang up and report the call as noted above. Medicare will never call you and ask for personal information unless they’re returning your call (or said they’d call you back). Your Medicare health plan or Prescription Drug Plan can also call you and ask for this information, if you’re already enrolled in the plan.
  • Don’t give out your Social Security number or MBI to an unknown caller.

If you move, read about how to report your address change to Medicare.