Many Medicare recipients will not receive their new identification cards as quickly as previously expected.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced that it has adjusted its schedule for mailing out the new cards.
CMS, the federal agency that oversees Medicare, the health care insurance program for people age 65 and over, previously said it would start mailing the new cards in April. Now, CMS won’t start sending them to existing beneficiaries until May or later.
Cards will still be sent to all newly eligible Medicare beneficiaries starting this month, however.
What’s behind the Medicare card delay
Medicare cards are being revamped in an effort to reduce fraud, as we detail in “How to Avoid Scams That Target Your New Medicare Card.”
That same fraud-fighting effort is also behind the delay in mailing the new cards. As CMS explains the holdup:
“We are working on making our processes even better by using the highest levels of fraud protection when we mail new cards to current Medicare beneficiaries. Over the next few weeks, we will complete this additional work and begin mailing new cards to current Medicare beneficiaries.”
When to expect the new Medicare cards
With CMS’ recent announcement about the delay, the agency issued its latest schedule for mailing out the new Medicare cards.
The schedule states that cards for all newly eligible beneficiaries will be mailed starting in April, regardless of where beneficiaries live.
New cards for existing beneficiaries in the following states and territories will be mailed starting in May:
- District of Columbia
- West Virginia
- American Samoa
- Northern Mariana Islands
New cards for existing beneficiaries in all other states as well as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands will be mailed “after June,” according to CMS.
The agency also says it’s “committed to mailing new cards to all Medicare beneficiaries over the next year.” But beneficiaries looking for a more precise heads-up can sign up to receive an email once their cards are in the mail. Just visit the “New Medicare Card” page on the Medicare.gov website.
To learn more about the Medicare program, check out “7 Things You Need to Know About Medicare.”
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