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New Medicare ID Cards

From April 2018 through April 2019, Medicare will be sending out new ID cards.  The new Medicare cards will still bear the familiar red, white, and blue colors and they will still be paper instead of the anticipated plastic.

So, what’s different? 

The new Medicare cards will have a slightly different design (see example below, from Medicare.gov) and will no longer exhibit a social security number as your id number.  Instead, the id numbers will be known as the Medicare Beneficiary Identifiers (MBI, for short).  This is a move to better protect your personal information from fraud and to thwart identity theft.

Example of current/old Medicare ID Cards:

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Example of New Medicare ID Cards:

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So, how do I get my new card?

Your new Medicare ID card will come in the mail automatically.  You do not have to do anything except patiently wait for it to come.  The cards will be mailed to the address on file at social security, so be sure they have your correct address and keep it updated if you move.

When should I expect my card in the mail?

According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS.gov), the cards will be mailed out systematically by geographical location and other factors.  The chart below is from a link on this CMS.gov web page and is listed here as a convenience.

As you can see, Mississippi and Tennessee are among the last states to receive the new cards.  This may prove to be a blessing since it will give the rest of the country time to “work out the kinks” before the transition hits our area.  Their experience for handling the transition will hopefully give our area more feedback & tips for making the process smoother for providers.

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Another thing to remember is that not everyone in our area will receive their cards at the same time.  You may get yours before your friend or neighbor.  Or you may not get yours until several weeks after your friend or neighbor.  CMS has assured us that everyone will receive a card before the April 2019 deadline.  We will share more information closer to the deadline about what to do if you do not receive a new card.

Once I get my new card, when should I start using it?

You can start using it immediately!

What if I have a Medicare Advantage plan?  Will I get a new card too?

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you will still receive a new Medicare ID card, but you will continue to use your same Medicare Advantage Plan card.  Keep your new Medicare ID card in a safe place.

What do I do with my old card that has a social security number on it?

Medicare.gov recommends destroying your old card immediately.

Do I need to notify my Supplement or Part D plan with my new number?

We are working closely with other payers, State Medicaid Agencies, and supplemental insurers to make sure the crossover claims process will still work like it does now. During the transition period, we’ll process and transmit Medicare crossover claims to other health insurance organizations with either the HICN or MBI.  —  CMS.gov

A crossover claim is a claim in which Medicare pays first, then a secondary entity pays.  Currently, CMS is planning to handle this on your behalf.  Your provider will also have processes in place to ensure the correct information for claims gets to both Medicare & your supplement company.

Fraud Alert:  Anytime there is a large scale change where personal information is at stake and confusion is imminent, scam artist will abound!  This year-long transition is a prime time for scammers and they will, no doubt, come up with new & innovative ways to target anyone with Medicare.  As you probably already know, the Senior Citizen demographic has long been a favorite target of scammers.

Some things to remember in order to protect your information:

  • Medicare and/or Social Security will NEVER call you to ask for your personal information, charge you for information or a card, ask you money, or threaten you.  If you receive any call in which this occurs, HANG UP!  You can report the number they called from to Medicare or to your local police office.
  • Do not leave your old card with a social security number lying around or continue to carry it with you.  You should destroy it or lock it in a safe place.  Once you have a new card & verify that it works, there is no reason to keep the old card.
  • Only give your new Medicare ID number to people you know & trust, like your doctor’s office or pharmacy.  Do not give your new number to someone over the phone unless you know them personally & trust them.

I hope this article has provided you with the information you need to feel prepared for the coming transition.  If you have other questions, please feel free to call, email, or contact us on Facebook for more information.

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