New Medicare Cards Are Coming Soon

In April, Medicare will start mailing new cards that don't disclose Social Security numbers. But the rollout will take a year.

Question: I remember reading that Medicare will start sending out new cards this year that don't include Social Security numbers. How can I find out when I'll receive my new card? Do I need to do anything to get it?

Answer: In an effort to protect against identity theft, Medicare has been preparing to replace everyone's Medicare cards with new ones that include a unique 11-digit Medicare identifier rather than your Social Security number (see an example of the new card). The agency will send out the new cards to all Medicare beneficiaries from April 2018 to April 2019, with the time frame based on your state. The first wave of new cards will be mailed from April to June 2018 to people in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. See the rollout schedule to find out when you should be receiving your new card.

You'll get your new card automatically and don't need to do anything, other than make sure that the Social Security Administration has your current mailing address. You can update your address through your My Social Security account or by calling the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213. Beware of scam artists who are taking advantage of this change to steal money and personal information. There is no charge for the new card, and Medicare will not call asking for your Social Security or bank information in order to send you a new card. See the Federal Trade Commission's alert for more information about new card scams.

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The new card won't change your benefits, and you can use it as soon as you receive it. If you have a separate card for a Medicare Advantage or Part D prescription-drug plan, you should keep that card, too.

Kimberly Lankford
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

As the "Ask Kim" columnist for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Lankford receives hundreds of personal finance questions from readers every month. She is the author of Rescue Your Financial Life (McGraw-Hill, 2003), The Insurance Maze: How You Can Save Money on Insurance -- and Still Get the Coverage You Need (Kaplan, 2006), Kiplinger's Ask Kim for Money Smart Solutions (Kaplan, 2007) and The Kiplinger/BBB Personal Finance Guide for Military Families. She is frequently featured as a financial expert on television and radio, including NBC's Today Show, CNN, CNBC and National Public Radio.