Q & A: July 2018

Q & A: July 2018

Q: I heard that Medicare would be mailing new cards.  When can I expect to get mine?


A: Medicare expects to start mailing cards in May of 2018, but be patient.  The cards are going out on a “rolling basis” to different states over the next 9 months (see the chart at the end of this article.) To learn when new Medicare cards start mailing to your area, sign up for e-alerts from Medicare by visiting Medicare.gov/NewCard.

The massive effort is needed to change how 59 million people enrolled in Medicare are identified.  Historically the red, white, and blue Medicare cards have used the beneficiaries’ Social Security number for the Medicare ID number.  Unsurprisingly those numbers are a prime target for identity theft and fraud.  The new cards come with a unique computer-generated series of 11 letters and numbers.

The transition has set off dozens of new Medicare scams.  To protect yourself from scam here’s what to remember.  There is nothing you need to do to get your card, and it does not cost anything.  It will be shipped to you automatically.  Scammers try to call beneficiaries on the phone and falsely claim that to get the new card you must provide Social Security, credit card, or bank account information, or Medicare benefits will be canceled.  All of these claims are false.  If you get a call like this or if anyone calls unsolicited, and claiming to be from Medicare, HANG UP.  This is a scam.  Once you get your new Medicare number, don’t toss your old Medicare card in the trash — shred or cut it up into small pieces.

If you have recently moved and need to update your official mailing address, visit MySocialSecurityaccount, or call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213.

When you get your new card, you may begin using it at once.  But if you forget to bring it with you to your next doctor’s visit your doctor’s office should be able to use your old card until December 31, 2019.


Newly Eligible People with Medicare


All - Nationwide April 2018 - ongoing
1 Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia Beginning May 2018
2 Alaska, American Samoa, California, Guam, Hawaii, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon Beginning May 2018
3 Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin After June 2018
4 Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont After June 2018
5 Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina After June 2018
6 Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wyoming After June 2018
7 Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Virgin Islands After June 2018