Starting April 2018 through April 2019, the federal government will be releasing new Medicare cards. If you live in New Jersey, this means you will receive yours after June 2018 as that is when NJ will begin their mailing of the new Medicare cards.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid has information on their New Medicare Card Mailing Strategy here (PDF link), which includes a breakdown of states/locations and when they plan on mailing cards.
Why is the government sending new cards? Because they will not include your Social Security Number (SSN)—this is to help better protect one’s identify from being stolen.
Because the government is ridding Medicare cards of SSN’s, beneficiaries will be receiving Medicare claim numbers that are 11 characters long, and made up of a combination of numbers and capital letters. Other than that, your Medicare card will have a similar design (red, white, and blue) and will still include your name and a Medicare Parts A & B effective date.
Below is a visual of the old cards versus the new cards:
If you already have a Medicare card, you will be receiving a new one with a Medicare claim number. By April 2019 all beneficiaries will have new Medicare cards that will not have their SSN on it. If you haven’t received your new card/number yet, continue using your current card until the new one comes in, as you won’t be assigned to a new number until your state sends out its new cards.
Even though you are receiving a new card, your benefits will remain the same.
The new Medicare cards are being issued to help with identity theft, but seniors should still be aware of other ways to protect oneself from theft. Some ways include:
- Do not give any more information that what a doctor, hospital, or medical facility is asking for;
- Do not give out any personal information over the phone;
- Do not just fill out any form that is mailed to you with your information and send it back, if you do not know who the form is from;
- Keep your social security card and old Medicare card at home in a safe place, and do not carry it with you.
LifeLock is a great protection program that can help you if you have your identity stolen—Hafetz and Associates can help you sign up for this very affordable protection product.
If it is after April 2019 and you haven’t received your new Medicare card, please call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213, or visit www.ssa.gov and log into your Social Security account to request a new card to be mailed to you.
If you have questions about the new Medicare cards, contact Hafetz and Associates today—we can help! Read our blog post about changes to Medicare in 2018 for updates.