HealthNotes: Blog Edition

New Medicare cards are coming

March 16, 2018

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will be replacing existing Medicare cards with new cards designed to prevent fraud and fight identity theft. Moving forward, Social Security Numbers will be removed from all Medicare cards to be replaced with a new Medicare Number that’s unique to each cardholder. Medicare coverage and benefits will stay the same.

Starting April 2018, CMS will begin mailing the new Medicare cards to all people with Medicare on a flow basis by geographic location.

10 things to know about your new Medicare card:

  1. Mailing takes time: Your card may arrive at a different time than your friend’s or neighbor’s.
  2. Destroy your old Medicare card: Once you get your new Medicare card, destroy your old Medicare card and start using your new card right away.
  3. Guard your card: Only give your new Medicare Number to doctors, pharmacists, other health care providers, your insurers, or people you trust to work with Medicare on your behalf.
  4. Your Medicare Number is unique: Your card has a new number instead of your Social Security Number. This new number is unique to you.
  5. Your new card is paper: Paper cards are easier for many providers to use and copy, and they save taxpayers a lot of money. Plus, you can print your own replacement card if you need one.
  6. Keep your new card with you: Carry your new card and show it to your health care providers when you need care.
  7. Your doctor knows it’s coming: Doctors, other health care facilities and providers will ask for your new Medicare card when you need care.
  8. You can find your number: If you forget your new card, you, your doctor or other health care provider may be able to look up your Medicare Number online.
  9. Keep your Medicare Advantage Card: If you’re 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. However, you also may be asked to show your new Medicare card, so you should carry this card too.
  10. Help is available: If you don’t get your new Medicare card by April 2019, call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-8–0633-4227). TTY users can call 1-877-486-2048.For more information about your new Medicare card, visit You can also visit for tips to prevent Medicare fraud.
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