New Medicare cards are coming. Depending on where you live, the cards may already be in the mail, or they may not arrive for months. If you’re getting antsy, there are a few ways to check on the status.
It’s a long — but important – process.
Between April 2018 and April 2019, CMS will mail out a new card to every single Medicare beneficiary. It’s a huge undertaking, and it’s being done for a good reason: improved security.
The new Medicare cards will not include the beneficiary’s Social Security Number. Instead, it will have a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI), a new 11-character alphanumeric code that is being assigned to each beneficiary. The switch will make it easier for beneficiaries to keep their Social Security Numbers secure, reducing the risk of identity theft.
When you get your new card, you can begin using it immediately. Destroy your old Medicare card. (If you have a separate Medicare Advantage card, don’t destroy it. Carry both your Medicare Advantage card and your new Medicare card.)
See when your card will arrive.
If you want to check the status of your new Medicare card, you have three options.
1. Go online to see when people in your state will get the new cards. CMS is mailing out cards state-by-state. Once CMS starts delivering the cards to the residents of one state, it will take at least a month for the process to be complete.
As of mid-June, CMS is mailing new cards to people in California, Oregon, Hawaii, Alaska, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.
2. Sign up for an email alert. Instead of going back to the Medicare website every month to see if your state is up yet, you can sign up for an email alert. That way, you’ll be notified as soon as cards are mailed to people in your state.
3. Sign into your MyMedicare.gov account. If you already have an account, you can sign in to see when you card has been sent out. If you don’t have an account yet, you can register for one.
Watch out for scams.
The new cards will be mailed out automatically. If your contact information is not current, update it at the Social Security site. Otherwise, no additional steps are needed to receive the new cards.
Scammers may try to convince you otherwise. They may call, posing as Medicare employees, and ask you to verify your information. They may say you owe a fee. They may ask you to mail your old card to an address they provide.
Don’t fall for it! They’re just trying to get your personal information.