Attention all Medicare recipients! As part of the Medicare Access and CHIP reauthorization act (MACRA) of 2015, all social security numbers will be removed from Medicare cards. Beginning in April of 2018, people with Medicare will receive a new Medicare card my mail. MACRA requires that all Medicare cards be replaced by April 2019.
Here is a side by side comparison of the old and new cards:
The motivations for replacing cards are:
- protect the individual’s private health care and financial information
- prevent identity theft and protect social security numbers.
- streamline benefit and payment services for healthcare providers
Your card will still be that familiar red, white and blue color. Your Medicare benefits do not change. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan (Medicare part C), you will still receive a new Medicare card and likely a new card from your Medicare Advantage plan as well.
All Medicare recipients will have a new, unique Medicare number assigned called a Medicare beneficiary number(MBI). Each MBI will contain letters and numbers and be 11 characters. Once you receive your new card in the mail, be sure to destroy your old card and have your healthcare provider update your insurance information in your medical record.
This is a huge undertaking. The cards will be mailed over the course of 12 months. Your card may not arrive at the same time as your spouse’s, friend’s or neighbor’s. To be sure you get your card on time, update your mailing address with the Social Security Administration (SSA) or by calling 1-800-772-1213.
SSA encourages you to guard your card. Treat it like a credit card. Medicare or SSA will never contact you for your Medicare number or other personal information. Don’t share your Medicare number with anyone who contacts you by phone or email.
So keep an eye on your mailbox for your new Medicare cards starting this Spring!