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Medicare is sending you a new card. Starting this month, Medicare has started issuing and mailing out a new type of Medicare card to all enrollees. These new cards comply with a bi-partisan 2015 law that requires Medicare to remove all Social Security Numbers (SSNs) from Medicare cards by Spring of 2019.

First and foremost, we can tell you that the new cards will not affect or change your Medicare coverage at all. But, there a few important points you need to know about them.

Old Medicare Card vs. New Medicare Card

Most importantly, the new cards no longer carry the cardholder’s SSN. Instead, you will be issued a unique Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) that you can find on your new card. The primary goal of the new cards and MBI numbers is to improve security and fight medical identity theft. Doctors and healthcare providers know about this change and will ask for your card and will use new Medicare number. Your MBI will replace your SSN for all Medicare transactions like billing, eligibility status, and claims. And just like with your SSN, only give out your Medicare number to providers that you know and trust.

Second, the new Medicare cards have a new design and are now made of paper, making it easier for medical providers to make photocopies

How do I get my new Medicare card?

You will automatically receive it in the mail. Processing takes time, so not all Medicare enrollees will receive their new cards at the same time. You do not need to call to request a new card unless you have a new address or will be moving. To update your address, or to request a replacement card because yours is lost or stolen, visit your mySocial Security account.

What else should I know?

Once you receive your new card, bring it to all new medical appointments, and destroy your old card in a secure way. You will not need the old one any more. Your new card may not come right away, so don’t worry about using it until it arrives.

Destroy only your old Medicare card. If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan ID card (because you have an HMO and PPO), you will continue using that card as your primary Medicare card. However, since medical providers may also ask to see your new Medicare card, bring that to your appointments as well.

If you forget your Medicare card at home when you go to the doctor, don’t worry; they will most likely be able to look up your new MBI.

Anything else?

Be aware of scammers. Social Security and Medicare will not call you for any reason regarding these new cards. If you receive a call asking for your personal information, your credit card, or your SSN, for “processing reasons” or “to receive your new card,” hang up and report it to the Federal Trade Commission.

You can also report it over the phone at 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357).

Griffin Insurance Solutions can address any other questions or concerns that you have about your new Medicare cards. Please reach us by email or phone at 919-704-6147 or 800-774-1434

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