Getting and Replacing Your Medicare card

checkmark Fact checked Contributing expert: Leron Moore, Medicare consultant - Updated: Nov 26, 2021

 

Need a Medicaid card? Here’s how to get one whether you’re new to Medicare or need a replacement.

What you should know

  • 1 When you apply for Medicare, upon approval, you will receive a red, white, and blue Medicare membership card.
  • 2 Your Medicare card won’t have your Social Security number on it. There will be a unique identification number that’s generated and listed on your card.
  • 3 Your Medicare card is in paper form. It isn’t advised that you laminate your card. It isn’t illegal; however, there are security features built-in that may be compromised if the card is laminated.

When do you get your Medicare card?

Medicare card

Once you have applied and have been accepted into the Medicare program, you’ll receive a membership card. You can expect your Medicare card to arrive about three weeks from the date of approval. If you’re already receiving Social Security benefits, you’ll be enrolled automatically. Your Medicare card should arrive about two months prior to your 65th birthday.

How to get your Medicare card

You’ll have to enroll in Medicare to receive your Medicare card. You’ll apply with the Social Security Administration either during your Initial Enrollment Period or the General Enrollment Period. If you’re already receiving benefits from Social Security at age 65, you’ll enroll into Medicare parts A and B automatically.

When you’ll receive your Medicare card

The timing of your Medicare card depends on your enrollment status. Below is a list of arrival times based on your status:

If you are:

You will receive your Medicare card when:

Already receiving retirement benefits

It is three months away from your 65th birthday

Receiving disability benefits

It is the 25th month of your disability coverage

Almost 65 but not receiving retirement benefits

It is the first day of your birthday month

Diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

It is the first month of your disability coverage

Diagnosed with end-stage renal disease (ESRD)

Your Original Medicare Enrollment is completed

How do you use and understand your Medicare card?

What your Medicare card will look like

Once you have been accepted into the Medicare program, the next step is to receive your Medicare card. Your Medicare card acts as the card that you use at the healthcare facilities. It has a unique number with your name on it, along with your Medicare Part A and, if you have it, Part B effective dates.

How to use your Medicare card for coverage

When you receive your card, present it to your doctor’s office staff. This is your proof of insurance and the health provider will keep a copy of your card on file. Even though the health provider has your Medicare information, you want to keep your card safe and accessible at all times.

How to use your Medicare Advantage Plan card

If you decide to enroll into a Medicare Advantage Plan, your coverage is considered primary. You will have two cards, an Original Medicare card and a Medicare Advantage Card. Since Medicare Advantage is your primary coverage, it’s only necessary to present your MA card to your healthcare provider.

How to use your Medicare Part D card

You have the option of keeping Original Medicare as your primary coverage. However, you may want to combine prescription coverage with your health insurance coverage. Your next step would be to find and purchase a stand-alone prescription drug plan to accompany your Original Medicare coverage.

How to protect your Medicare card and avoid Medicare scams

The best way to protect yourself is to treat your Medicare card like your Social Security card. Your Medicare number should only be revealed to doctors and people who you trust. Don’t reveal information to unknown people who reach out to you via email, text, or phone calls. Keep track of your appointments and labs so that you can compare your list with your Medicare statements. Doing those things will maximize your safety and protect you.

How do you get a replacement Medicare card?

How to replace your original Medicare card

There are some options as it pertains to replacing your lost or stolen Medicare card.

  • Call the Social Security Administration at (800) 772-1213 ― TTY (800) 325-0778 ― Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Call your local Social Security office
  • Go online to Medicare.gov and print an official copy of your Medicare card

How to replace your Medicare Advantage card

Depending on the carrier of your health insurance, you need to contact them to request a new Medicare Advantage card. You can contact your insurance provider by phone or complete the request online. Make sure that you are certain of the turnaround time so that you know when to expect your card in the mail.

How to replace your Medicare Part D card

This process is similar to requesting a Medicare Advantage card. Contact the prescription drug plan provider by phone or online and submit a request for a new ID card from your carrier. Again, make sure that you are aware of the turnaround time.

How to replace your card during an emergency or natural disaster

If you need to replace your Medicare card because it was damaged or lost, the best way is to log into or create a secure Medicare account. From there, you can print an official copy for your possession. If you have temporarily or permanently changed your address, go to the SSA website and access your account or call the SSA.

If you would like to know more information about the importance of your Medicare card, there are a few resources listed below to help you on your journey.

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Contributing Expert:

Leron Moore, Medicare consultant

Leron Moore has guided Medicare beneficiaries and their families as a Medicare professional for nearly 15 years. First as a Medicare provider enrollment specialist, and now a Medicare account executive, Moore works directly with Medicare beneficiaries to ensure they understand Medicare and Medicare Advantage Plans.