In April, the government will start sending out new Medicare cards. The new cards remove each member’s Social Security number and replace it with a new, randomly generated, 11-digit “Medicare number” (some capital letters are included). It will be used to verify eligibility for services and for billing purposes going forward. Cards will be sent to people covered by Medicare on a rolling basis over a 12-month period ending in April 2019. The new Medicare cards are free, and you don’t need to do anything to receive one. There will be a transition period during which you can use either your new Medicare card or your old card at doctor’s offices and hospitals. Both should work until 12/31/19. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan or have prescription drug coverage through Medicare, keep those cards that your plan issued you. These are not being replaced.
If you think Social Security might not have your current address, call 800-772-1213 or check your online Social Security account at https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/. Watch out for fraud! Medicare representatives will never contact you by phone or email about the new cards and certainly will “never ask for money or personal information or threaten to cancel your health benefits.” If you suspect fraud, report it to the FTC, AARP’s fraud help line at 877-908-3360 or your local Senior Medicare Patrol program.
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