What You Need to Know About Your Medicare Card

When you enroll in Medicare, you’ll receive a card that proves your enrollment. Like most other health insurance cards, you present the card when you get medical care.

Social Security and Your Medicare Card

If you’re turning 65 and you’re already receiving Social Security benefits, you’ll get a Medicare card automatically – it should show up in the mail three months before your 65th birthday. If you’re turning 65 and not yet getting Social Security benefits, or if you need Medicare for other reasons, you can apply in three different ways: online at www.socialsecurity.gov, by calling Social Security (800-772-1213) between 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday, or by going to your local Social Security office in person.

What’s On Your Medicare Card

Your Medicare card will be red, white and blue. It will show personal information about you – like your name and when your Medicare coverage took effect. It shows less personal information than it used to. Medicare cards used to identify enrollees by Social Security number, so losing your Medicare card was as serious as losing your Social Security card. Thanks to the CHIP act of 2015, Medicare enrollees are now have by unique Medicare numbers. This means your Medicare card is more secure and easier to replace if it gets lost. 

If you’ve been enrolled in Medicare for a while and just got a new card, the government recommends you destroy the old one. If you haven’t received your new card yet, don’t worry. As long as Social Security has your current address on file, it is coming – the deadline for it to be sent to you is April 2019. 

Presenting Your Medicare Card at the Doctor

Once you have your Medicare card, keep it on you just like you would your ID. Any time you visit a doctor or other healthcare facility, you’ll present it when you check in. And in case of emergency, having your Medicare card ready will make treatment and billing both go much more smoothly.  

If you enrolled in any supplemental Medicare plans, like Part D, which provides prescription drug coverage, you may need to present a separate card at the pharmacy to get your medications. 

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