The envelope says its from Medicare. The card inside looks very official. It’s got your name on it, and a bunch of numbers and letters that don’t look at all familiar.
But – can you trust it? Is this new Medicare card for real? Can you use it with your doctor and other medical needs?
Why on earth, after all these years, would they just send you a new Medicare card for no apparent reason?
The answers are yes, yes, yes…. and for a very good reason!
You can trust it. It is for real, and not only CAN you use with your appointments – you are expected to begin doing so as soon as you receive it.
So what’s that all about? Why new cards, and why now?
It’s actually pretty simple. If you look at your old Medicare card, you’ll see that the ID number is the same as your Social Security Number. This has been a boon to identity thieves for years!
In 2015, a new law was enacted that required CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid) to replace the current cards by April 2019. The new numbering system was designed, the implementation process was developed, and now (finally) the cards will be mailed to beneficiaries, beginning in April 2018.
Mailing of cards will take place state-by-state, according to this schedule.
Each Medicare or Medicaid eligible American will be issued a new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) – that’s your new Medicare number and you’ll be able to find it on your new card.
Once you receive your new card, be sure to take it to all your appointments. The staff at your providers’ offices will know what to do with it.
Didn’t receive your new Medicare card yet?
Cards are being mailed to a limited number of states and territories before June 2018. As of today (March 2018) the only timetable set for the additional states is “After June 2018”. You can check here to find an updated schedule.
What should you do with your old Medicare card?
One you have your new card in hand, get rid of the old one. Shred it. Burn it. Dispose of it in some way that no one can get a hold of it in order to use your Social Security number to steal your money or your identity.
It will be a relief not to think about these numbers and the opportunities they represent for fraudulent use. That’s a stressor none of us need!