By now, all Medicare recipients should have received their new Medicare card. Your new paper card is mostly white in color, with a blue banner at the top and a red stripe at the bottom. It displays information such as your name, coverage type, and Medicare number.
Why did my Medicare card change? These cards have been issued in response to identity theft problems, which often plagued the system back when cards included beneficiary Social Security numbers. All it took was the loss of your Medicare card, and a con artist now had enough information to take out credit cards or loans in your name.
The new cards reflect a change within the system. Each Medicare beneficiary was assigned a unique Medicare Number, so that Social Security numbers would no longer be used as identifying information.
Which card do I use? If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C), continue to carry and use your Advantage card at most medical appointments. However, you should take your new Medicare card too, just in case your provider needs to obtain the Medicare Number for your file.
For those on Original Medicare, this new card is the only one you will need. You can safely dispose of your old card now. Make sure to bring the new card to your next appointment with your primary care physician; they need to record your Medicare Number in their system.
What else do I need to know? Continue to keep your Medicare card in a safe location, and only carry it to medical appointments. Remember that no one should call you on the phone and ask for your Medicare Number. Don’t give this number over the phone.
Only show your Medicare card to doctor offices, pharmacists, your insurer, and people you trust to work on your behalf. No one else needs to know your Medicare Number.
If you ever suspect that someone is trying to use your Medicare Number fraudulently, please report the event by calling 1-800-MEDICARE.