In April 2018, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will begin a year-long process of mailing new ID cards to everyone covered by Medicare. CMS will mail the new cards by geographic location and other factors, with the goal of having all cards replaced by April 2019. For people in Iowa and Nebraska who have Medicare, new cards are scheduled to be mailed sometime after June 2018.
New cards are being issued and mailed because the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015 requires CMS to remove Social Security Numbers (SSNs) from all Medicare cards. This requirement will help keep Medicare beneficiary information safe and prevent identity theft. Unique, randomly-assigned Medicare Numbers, or Medicare Beneficiary Identifiers (MBIs), will replace the SSNs on the cards.
The new Medicare Numbers won’t change Medicare benefits. Medicare beneficiaries may start using their new card and Medicare Number as soon as they receive the card.
If you’re on Medicare, here’s how you can prepare for your new card:
- Make sure your mailing address is up-to-date. If your address needs to be corrected, contact the Social Security Administration at ssa.gov/myaccount or 1-800-772-1213. TTY users can call 1-800-325-0778.
- Beware of anyone who contacts you about your new card. CMS will never charge you a fee or ask you to give personal or private information to receive your new Medicare number and/or card. If someone asks you for your information, for money, or threatens to cancel your health benefits if you don’t share your personal information, hang up and then call Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).
- It will take CMS approximately one year to mail out all the new cards. Since the mailing will be staggered, your card may arrive at a different time than your friends, neighbors or relatives with Medicare coverage.
- When your new card arrives, shred your old Medicare card immediately and keep your new card in a safe place. This will help prevent anyone from obtaining and misusing your personal information.
To see a sample of the new card and learn more, visit Your Medicare Card.