Have you lost your Medicare card? Or has your card been stolen? If so you can replace the card and make sure your previous card cannot be used.
If your card was stolen, how can the thief use your card and how would that impact you.
It is important that you protect your personal information. Information like your Social Security Number (SSN) or your Medicare card which has a number specific to you is very important.
If your card has been lost, damaged, or stolen you need to take action quickly to ensure your information is protected.
In this article, I will cover what is involved in replacing your card, how you initiate the process, and how long it takes. I will also touch on how your Medicare card information can be used against you and how you can protect yourself.
Read further to learn more about replacing your Medicare card.
Quick Navigation Article Links
- General Information About Medicare Policies When Contacting You
- What Information Does My Medicare Card Hold
- How Does The New Medicare Number Protect My Social Security Number
- How Do Medicare Number or Card Scams Work
- How Can I Proactively Protect My Medicare Information
- What Should I Do If My Card Is Stolen
- If Someone Has Stolen My Card How Can They Use It
- How Does Medicare Card Replacement Work
- How Much Is It To Replace
- Can The SSA Refuse To Replace My Card
- What Documents Do I Need To Provide The SSA To Get A New Card
- How Long Does The Process Take
- Is The SSA Issuing New Medicare Cards For 2021
General Information About Medicare Policies When Contacting You
It is important you understand the general policies and practices of Medicare and the Social Security Administration so you can recognize a scam.
Medicare usually will not call you demanding personal information, your SSN, your Medicare Number, or any payment information. If you have called Medicare and requested a call back then that is one exception.
Medicare cards do not expire so be careful if you are contacted by anyone who says you need to replace your card because it has expired. Medicare will not call you or visit your home to sell you any medical products or treatment services.
A Social Security Administration officer or representative may call to confirm information to process your application however this is pretty rare.
You should receive a letter from the Social Security Administration if they need to call you for any reason.
If you lost your Medicare card or it was stolen call Medicare of the SSA directly!
You can contact Medicare customer service by calling the number on the back of your card.
What Information Does My Medicare Card Hold
Your Medicare card will hold information that doctors’ offices, hospitals, and clinics can use to identify you and collect payment for your treatment.
Your Medicare card has a number that is unique to you. It is not the same as your Social Security number.
Your Medicare card also shows if you have Medicare Part A coverage which is listed as “Hospital”. It also displays if you have Medicare Part B coverage which is displayed as “Medical” on your card. The card will show the date your coverage begins as well.
You would have received your Medicare card when you were approved for coverage and sent a Medicare Welcome Packet. You can also get a printed version of your card by logging into your Medicare account and printing a copy of your card.
How Does The New Medicare Number Protect My Social Security Number
In 2019 Medicare sent everyone a new kind of Medicare card that displayed a Medicare number instead of your SSN. The new medicare number is called a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier or MBI for short.
While this protects your SSN the MBI can still be stolen and used by thieves. Scammers would call individuals claiming they needed to confirm or authenticate their new Medicare Beneficiary Number. They may also claim your new card was incorrect or will not work properly due to an error.
How Do Medicare Number or Card Scams Work
The scammers may try to convince you that you need to pay a fee to have your card fixed or activated.
A scammer could call you and claim you’re eligible for a “refund” for a service or treatment that was covered. They would then ask for your personal information such as your Medicare number or SSN. They could also ask for a credit card number or bank information to “process” your refund. Do NOT provide any of that information!
Another scam is an offer of “free” medical supplies. A scammer may contact you and claim that you can receive a free checkup, free services, treatments, or equipment. They will ask for your Medicare number or SSN. They may claim that they need that information to “verify” your identity.
Ultimately the scammer’s goal is to get your Medicare number, SSN, bank information, or credit card number. Do not provide those details to ANYONE who randomly contacts you over the phone. Once the scammers have your personal information they may use it to commit identity theft, fraud, or to steal money.
How Can I Proactively Protect My Medicare Information
You need to treat our Medicare number and card as a credit card. When you get a new Medicare card destroy the only one. You can shred it, chop it up, or try to dispose of it in some other method. Make sure your information cannot be read on the card.
Do not return your medicare card if you receive a call from a random person who claims you need to return the old card.
Do not give out your card or your Medicare number to just anyone. If you are contacted on the phone and asked to give your Medicare information please be cautious.
Now would be a good time to mention phone scams.
Avoid Phone Scammers
Please be careful when taking ANY phone call about your Social Security benefits!!! Unfortunately, there are quite a few scams related to Social Security numbers. A Social Security officer will NEVER threaten you or say you will go to jail if you do not give them your personal information.
If you receive a phone call where someone says “there is a charge against you, you will go to jail if you do not pay money or give us your information” that is a scam! Hang up!
Do not share your Medicare information over the phone unless YOU were the person to contact the SSA. It is safer when you directly contact someone because you initiated the conversation.
If you receive threats from someone saying you MUST share your Medicare number hang up immediately and call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) or TTY 1-877-486-2048.
You can speak with Medicare directly and confirm that you are not in any danger or trouble.
In this day and age scammers are more and more inventive. To protect yourself against scams look for these traits when someone contacts you by phone or in person:
- They claim to be an officer, professional, government agent or store rep who needs your personal information.
- They claim that you will get something “free” or receive a refund and need your credit card or bank info to “process” the item.
- They say you will go to jail, pay a fine, or face criminal charges if you don’t give them personal information.
- They say you qualify for a special promotion, prize, or opportunity, and to enroll you just need to pay a fee.
There are many other scams, stay cautious and do not volunteer personal information if you are at all suspicious.
Protect Yourself When You Carry Your Physical Card
When carrying your Medicare card or a printed copy of your card make sure to keep it in a safe and secure place. Storing your card in a coat pocket or in the back of your mobile phone may not be the best idea.
If you have Original Medicare then you need to carry your card whenever you are away from home. When you go to the hospital, doctor’s clinic, or a health care provider you will need to show your Medicare card. If you have a Medicare plan that covers prescriptions or supplementary services carry that plan information or card with you as well.
If you have a Medicare Advantage plan or any other kind of Medicare plan you will need to use your specific plans card to get services, you will not need to show your Medicare card.
Make sure to keep any and all health care plans, coverage proof, and plan cards in a safe place. Secure the documents so water will not damage them and keep them in a safe place you will not forget.
You should also photocopy all of your important documents and cards so if they are lost you have a copy and can prove you are the owner of the documents. You should also write down all your important identification numbers for your reference.
If Someone Has Stolen My Card How Can They Use It
If your card has been stolen the thief may try to use your card or information in one or more of the following ways.
To commit identity theft. Once a scammer has your personal information they may try to impersonate you and receive money or benefits if possible. They could also threaten you by exposing your personal information to the public.
If you have given out your personal information and are being threatened contact Medicare ASAP and let them know what is happening. Medicare can help you secure your personal information and stop the threats.
Card Activation Fee Or Issue With Card
The scammer may try to convince you to pay a fee to activate your card or “fix’ an error they claim exists. You do not need to pay anything to activate your Medicare card. And if there is an “error” with your card then contact Medicare directly, do not engage in a random call from an unconfirmed person.
Questionable Charges On Your Medicare Account
The scammer may put questionable charges on your Medicare account. This is a way they use to steal money.
Check your Medicare Summary Notice or MSN for short to verify there are no fake charges on your account. If your card number is compromised contact Medicare immediately to inform them to refuse the false charges. You can also report them to a fraud hotline at 800-HHS-TIPS (800-447-8477)
Basically, a scammer’s main goal is to get money from you or someone else. They will use your personal information as a tool to do this. Protect yourself by being cautious and familiarizing yourself with common scams.
How Does Medicare Card Replacement Work
If your card has been lost damaged or stolen you can replace it. Once you replace your card your previous card cannot be used. You should destroy that card and make sure no one can read the information.
Your replacement card will be mailed to you once your request has been processed. Depending on how you requested the replacement you may have to provide proof of your identity.
What Should I Do If My Card Is Lost Or Stolen
If you have lost your card and cannot find it after searching thoroughly then you will need to request a replacement card. You can do this by logging into your Medicare account and requesting a replacement. If your coverage is provided through a Medicare Advantage plan or the railroad you will need to contact them to request a replacement.
It Was Stolen
If your card has been stolen or you have told a scammer your Medicare number and you have Original Medicare then you need to contact Medicare or the Social Security Administration immediately. It is important you notify them that your card is compromised.
They can stop any unauthorized charges and make sure the card cannot be used to receive treatment. They can also provide advice and steps to take to avoid identity theft.
If you have Medicare coverage through the Railroad Retirement Board you will need to contact them to replace your card and report that it has been stolen.
If your Medicare plan is provided through a Medicare Advantage Plan you will need to contact your provider. This could be a PPO, HMO, or PDP. You should be able to find their contact information on your policy or any letters you received from them when setting up your plan.
How Much Is It To Replace
You do not need to pay for a replacement Medicare card. If you are called and asked to pay for a replacement or pay a fee to activate your card ignore the call.
Can The SSA Refuse To Replace My Card
The Social Security Administration and Medicare cannot flat out refuse to replace your card. They may need to confirm a few things before mailing out a new card, however, if you have coverage then you are can get a replacement card anytime your card is lost, stolen, or damaged.
What Documents Do I Need To Provide The SSA To Get A New Card
You may need to provide one or more of the following documents for the SSA or Medicare to verify your identity:
- Drivers License
- U. S. Passport
- Employee ID card
- School ID card
- Letter from a medical professional or doctor stating your name, address, SSN, doctors name, and a signature
- Burth Certificate
- U. S. Hospital record
Depending on how you request your replacement card or a new card you may not have to provide those documents. But have them on hand just in case.
How Long Does The Process Take
It can take about 30 days for you to receive your replacement card once you notify the SSA or Medicare. Your card will be sent to the address on file.
If you requested a replacement and have not received it make sure to check what address is on file. If the address is incorrect you will have to update the SSA with your current address.
If the address is correct and you have not received your replacement card the call your local Social Security office to ask about your card replacement and confirm your request for replacement was received.
Is The SSA Issuing New Medicare Cards For 2021
New Medicare cards are not being sent out during 2021. Medicare cards were updated in 2018/2019. The new update included added protection of your SSN. Medicare cards no longer show your SSN. This means if your card is stolen your SSN is not at risk.
There are no other known updates for Medicare cards in 2021.
If you are contacted by phone and told that a new Medicare card is being issued do not give out your Medicare number. This is a scam. Remember Medicare will not randomly call you and request personal information, your SSN, or any payment information. Refer to the Avoid Phone Scams heading for more.