Once you know what Medicare is, you choose the right plan for your necessities and decide to enroll in the Medicare health plan of your preference, you should learn some important aspects about your Medicare card, which will be an important document for you since the moment your coverage starts. So, in this article we will explain what the card is, how to get it, the information that your card has and why it is important.
What is a Medicare Card?
A Medicare Card is a red, white and blue card that you get when you are enrolled in Original Medicare. Your card is proof that you have Medicare health insurance and you will often need it when you want to receive services covered by Medicare. You card shows if you have Part A, Part B or both. Your card also has your name and sex, when you coverage starts and Medicare contact info.
In the past, Medicare Cards had the Medicare Claim number of the owner (as shown in the picture above), which was their Social Security number or a very similar number to their Social Security number. Unfortunately, this would make Medicare fraud easier, especially if the card is lost. To solve this, Medicare will be replacing the old cards with new cards that will have a Medicare number that will be unique for each person (and different from their Social Security number). They will mail the new cards for free from April 2018 to April 2019 and they will look as the card below.
When and how will I get my Medicare Card?
As we mentioned in another article, there are some cases in which you are automatically enrolled to Medicare. In case you are already receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) benefits, you should automatically receive your Medicare card in the mail about three months before you turn 65. Remember, in this case you automatically get Part A and you will have to pay for Part B if you want it.
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In case you are automatically enrolled to Medicare because you are receiving Social Security disability benefits, you will get your card your 25th month of getting those benefits. In case you suffer from ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare the same month that your disability benefits begin and that is when you should get your card.
If you are not automatically enrolled and you have to manually enroll in Medicare, you will receive your card when your coverage benefits begin and this date will depend on the moment you applied. This applies to people who suffer from End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) and people who is close to turn 65 and will manually enroll in the Initial Enrollment Period.
Take into consideration that you will receive the card through the mail, so make sure to keep you address information updated.
What happens if I lose my Medicare Card?
In case your Medicare Card is stolen, damaged or lost, you can ask for a new one from Social Security by telephone or online. You will need to provide personal information like your Social Security number or date of birth, so make sure you are contacting Social Security on their official website or telephone.
You will receive your new card in about 30 days, but if you need proof of your coverage before that, contact Social Security and they will give proof you can use meanwhile. Again, the card will be mailed to the last mailing address on file, so make sure you keep your information up to date in case you move.