What You Should Know About the New Medicare Card

The card comes with a randomly assigned Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) made up of 11 letters and numbers; and no social security number like on the current card.

Some differences in the new cards include:

  • Uppercase letters and numbers
  • The letters B, I, L, O, S and Z will not be used to avoid confusing letters with numbers
  • Positions 2, 5, 8, and 9 will always be letters
  • No embedded logic
  • Each beneficiary will be assigned a unique identifier

All 60 million or so Medicare recipients will eventually receive the card in the mail. The mail outs started April of 2018 and will go on for a year.

What Do You or the Medicare Recipient Need to Know?

  • You do not have to do anything to get the card. It will be automatically mailed to you.
  • Make sure Medicare has your current address so your card is delivered on time.
  • The card may be in an envelope that resembles junk mail.
  • Once you receive the card, destroy your old card and begin using your new card right away.
  • Do not get worried if your friends have the new card and you don’t. It will take some time to mail all of the cards.
  • The new card is paper. You may want to laminate it.
  • Bring the new card to your next healthcare visit.
  • If you forget to bring your new card, your healthcare provider should be able to look up your Medicare identification online.

If you have a Medicare Advantage policy, you should still keep and use this plan’s card. However, have both cards on hand when you visit your doctor.

Beware of Scams (as recommended by the American Association of Retired Persons)

  • Scams relating to the new card are already surfacing. Some Medicare recipients report getting calls from scamsters who tell them that they must pay for the new card and then ask them for their checking account and Medicare card numbers. Don’t give out either number!!

“Anyone saying they are going to charge you for a card is a scammer,” says Paul Stephens, director of policy and advocacy with the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse in San Diego. “In the case of CMS, they will never need you to tell them what your Medicare card number is because they already know it.”

Identity theft is rising among those 65 and older. The Department of Justice has cited a figure of more than 2.6 million cases of senior identity theft occurring in recent years.

Always proceed with extreme caution before releasing any personally identifying information!