What You Need to Know About New Medicare Cards

The distribution of new Medicare cards began in April 2018 and your clients may have questions about how they work and what to do with their old Medicare cards.

Now that 2020 is officially here, your clients should have already received their new Medicare cards. Because of some updates to the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, more commonly known as MACRA, all Medicare enrollees were predicted to have their new cards before the start of 2020.

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, all new Medicare cards have successfully been distributed as of mid-January 2019.

Even though change can be scary, we think your clients will actually prefer their new Medicare cards.

As with any transition in life, there’s going to be some confusion as well as questions. Below are some potential things your clients might ask you, and the answers to address their concerns!

Listen this article:

Q: I don’t have my new Medicare card! What should I do?

A: According to CMS, all new Medicare cards have successfully been distributed. If for whatever reason you never received yours, call Medicare services at 1-800-633-4227 to inquire about the whereabouts of your new card.

Q: Why am I getting a new Medicare card?

A: To put it simply, [Mr./Mrs. Client], these new cards will help protect Medicare enrollees against fraud and identity theft. The number on your current card is based on your social security number, which is specific only to you.

While the new number on your Medicare card is also unique for every individual, it’s a totally random set of 11 numbers and capital letters. The characters are not based on anything, nor do they have any hidden meaning. By removing the social security numbers from Medicare cards, it strengthens fraud protections for about 58 million Americans.

Q: So now that I have a new card, am I still at risk for fraud?

A: With any card that’s personal to you, there’s always a risk for identity theft. It’s important that you treat your new card like a credit card. Do not share your Medicare card number with anyone who shouldn’t have it.

No one from Medicare will ever contact you asking for personal information unless permission had been granted prior to the phone call. So if someone calls you claiming to be from Medicare services and tells you 1) they need your Medicare card number, 2) you won’t receive your Medicare benefits unless you give it to them, or 3) there is a charge for your new Medicare card, you can go ahead and assume it’s a scam and hang up immediately.

Q: What happens when I get my new Medicare card?

A: You can start using your new Medicare card as soon as you receive it, and you’ll be instructed to safely and securely dispose of your old one. You should use your MBI (Medicare Beneficary Identifier), not your HICN (Health Insurance Claims Number) for all your Medicare needs and paperwork.

Note for agents: Beginning on January 1, 2020, the MBI is the only number that will be accepted on Medicare Advantage applications. A transition period will run through December 31, 2019, where you can use either the HICN or the MBI when submitting data. Please do not use old HICNs on any applications in the new year. There are a few exceptions for which you may use the HICN after January 1, 2020, including appeals, adjustments, and retrospective reporting. Please visit cms.gov for more on this topic.

Q: What will my new Medicare card look like?

A: Your new Medicare card will be red, white, and blue, just like your old one. It will have your name, sex, new Medicare card number, and the date in which your coverage starts. It will also show whether you’re enrolled in Part A and Part B. If you haven’t already, you’ll soon receive an updated version of the Medicare and You handbook via snail mail. The handbook shows a picture of the new Medicare card and has more detailed information about the transition.

Q: Will my new card affect my Medicare benefits?

A: No, not at all. Those who receive new Medicare cards this coming year are people who are already enrolled in Medicare. Your plan, benefits, and coverage will stay exactly the same.

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There you have it: everything you need to know about the up-and-coming new Medicare cards. Now you, and your clients, can put your minds at ease. Remember, change is good.

If your clients have asked about new Medicare cards, feel free to share our Medicareful Living post on the topic

Editor’s Note: This was originally published in November 2017. It has been updated to include more current information.

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