What You Must Know About the New Medicare Card You Will Get Soon

Man holding his wallet
Photo by Africa Studio / Shutterstock.com

Every Medicare beneficiary will receive a new identification number and card soon.

The measure is part of an effort to help protect beneficiaries from identity fraud, according to Medicare, a federal health insurance program primarily for folks ages 65 and older.

Currently, Medicare identification numbers are based on Social Security numbers. As the Medicare program tells beneficiaries:

“Fraudsters are always looking for ways to get your Social Security number, so we’re removing Social Security numbers from all Medicare cards to make them safer. Your new card will have a new Medicare number that’s unique to you.”

This announcement isn’t just one for seniors to note, however. Health care fraud can happen to anyone. So, you should safeguard your health insurance card, regardless of whether you’re insured under Medicare.

What seniors need to know about their new Medicare cards

If you’re wondering what the new cards will look like, the Medicare program provides this example:

Medicare card

Now, there are some basic facts every Medicare beneficiary should know about their new cards. These IDs:

  • Are free. So, there is no cost to beneficiaries.
  • Will be mailed out beginning in April.
  • Will be mailed automatically. So, beneficiaries don’t need to do anything to ensure they are issued a new card.
  • Will be mailed to the beneficiary addresses on file with the Social Security Administration. So, beneficiaries who need to update that address should log into their SSA.gov accounts.
  • Have no bearing on beneficiaries’ coverage or benefits. So, coverage and benefits will not change in connection with the new IDs.

Once you receive your new card, the Medicare program advises that you take three important steps:

  1. Destroy your old Medicare card right away.
  2. Use your new card. Doctors, other health care providers and plans approved by Medicare know that Medicare is replacing the old cards. They are ready to accept your new card when you need care.
  3. Beware of people contacting you about your new Medicare card and asking you for your Medicare number, personal information or to pay a fee for your new card. Treat your Medicare number like you treat your Social Security or credit card numbers. Remember, Medicare will never contact you uninvited to ask for your personal information.

Tip No. 3 touches on an important point: You still must safeguard your new Medicare number and card. That’s because receiving a new ID number or card is not enough in itself to prevent fraud.

Medicare numbers will no longer give away Social Security numbers, which may help prevent fraud. But Medicare numbers will still be unique identifiers, which means they’re still useful to thieves.

What everyone should know about health care fraud

Medicare beneficiaries are not the only folks who should safeguard their health insurance information. The FBI advises everyone to do so, explaining:

“Make sure there is a legitimate reason to provide your insurance card or insurance information to others, and be especially vigilant if your information is requested when services are offered for free, or any offers are made during telemarketing calls.”

According to the FBI, health care fraud costs the country tens of billions of dollars every year. And that’s not even counting any harm that fraudsters cause to the patients whose data they use to commit fraud.

Besides safeguarding sensitive data, you can fight health care fraud by monitoring certain health care documents — just as you (hopefully) monitor financial statements for financial fraud. That way, if you are ever victimized, you will catch it and can report it sooner than later.

In health care fraud, one such document is known as an explanation of benefits, or EOB. The FBI explains:

“One of the most effective ways to determine if insurance information is being used without your knowledge is to review the explanation of benefits forms sent from your insurance company. These forms list the services and supplies supposedly provided to patients from medical providers. If any billings are suspect, immediately contact the insurance company.”

You may also wish to request a copy of your file from medical consumer reporting companies like MIB and Milliman IntelliScript. They track your medical data — just as credit reporting companies like Equifax, Experian and TransUnion track your credit data. We explain this in detail in “Why Freezing Your Credit Won’t Fully Protect You After the Equifax Breach.”

What’s your take on this news? Share your thoughts below or over on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
7 Small Appliances You Don’t Need — and What to Use Instead
7 Small Appliances You Don’t Need — and What to Use Instead

Here’s how to get the job done without blowing money — or losing counter space.

Should You Hire a Service to Negotiate Your Cable and Other Bills?
Should You Hire a Service to Negotiate Your Cable and Other Bills?

Services like BillCutterz and BillFixers will negotiate your cable, internet, phone and other monthly bills in exchange for a share of the savings. I tried it: Here’s what happened.

How to Achieve Your Financial Goals in 2020
How to Achieve Your Financial Goals in 2020

New year, new you. Get your finances on track with the help of these tools for investing, saving, budgeting and earning.

These Are the 10 Worst Cars for Depreciation
These Are the 10 Worst Cars for Depreciation

Two types of vehicles are especially likely to see steep plunges in value.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy

If you’re a true tightwad, the mere thought of spending money on these items gives you the willies.

10 Useless Purchases You Need to Stop Making
10 Useless Purchases You Need to Stop Making

You might as well flush your money down the loo if you spend it on these things.

7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking
7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking

There’s more to Social Security than retirement benefits.

7 Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know by Now
7 Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know by Now

Confusion over Social Security is a shame, considering how many of us will need this money badly.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

They don’t make coffee makers like this anymore.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021
14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021

These convenient household products come with hidden costs that you might not have considered.

The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners
The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners

If you’re looking to ease into investing in the coronavirus economy with just a little money, check out these easy-to-use tools.

Is Writing a Check Still Safe?
Is Writing a Check Still Safe?

Every time you pay by check, you hand your bank account numbers to a stranger.

8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today
8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today

Being frugal isn’t smart if you put off replacing these items.

6 Ways to Protect Your Retirement Accounts From Hackers
6 Ways to Protect Your Retirement Accounts From Hackers

Imagine having $245,000 stolen from your retirement account — and not being reimbursed.

9 Mistakes People Make When Cleaning With Vinegar
9 Mistakes People Make When Cleaning With Vinegar

Cleaning with vinegar can save you a lot of money, but using it like this can cost you.

13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now
13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook
7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook

Did you realize all these tax credits and deductions exist — or that they apply to retirees?

7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

4 States Where Taxes on Social Security May Fall Soon
4 States Where Taxes on Social Security May Fall Soon

These states are considering reducing — or even eliminating — income taxes on Social Security benefits.

10 Things Successful Retirees Do Differently
10 Things Successful Retirees Do Differently

These habits and characteristics can help put you on the track to success.

7 Hidden Sections of Amazon Every Shopper Should Know
7 Hidden Sections of Amazon Every Shopper Should Know

These little-known departments of Amazon are gold mines for deal-seekers and impulse shoppers alike.

7 Costly Health Problems That Strike After Age 50
7 Costly Health Problems That Strike After Age 50

As we age, our bodies wear down. Here is how to cut costs associated with some common ailments.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.