Shortly after you enroll in Medicare, Social Security will send you a red, white, and blue Medicare card in the mail. Your Medicare card will show your unique Medicare number, the date your coverage starts, and which parts of Medicare you have (Parts A and/or B).
Your Medicare card will not show if you have Part C or D coverage through a private plan. If you sign up for one of those, that plan’s carrier will mail you a separate membership card. Be sure to carry all of your cards with you when traveling or away from home, in case you need health services.
Here are 5 things you should know about your Medicare card:
- Your Medicare Number: You are assigned a unique number when you join Medicare as an identity protection measure. Your Medicare number replaces your Social Security Number on your card and other important documents, helping you keep it secure from theft and fraud.
- Ease-of-use: You may be wondering why your Medicare card is made of paper. This is because it is easy for many providers to use and copy, no matter their location or resources. This ensures that you can use your benefits no matter where in the country you get health care.
- Essential for coverage: Even if you have a Medicare Advantage plan, it’s still important to hold on to your Original Medicare card. You’ll need to have this information on hand for some coverage, and you’ll definitely need it if you ever decide to make a change in plans.
- Easy to find or replace: If you forgot your Medicare card at home while at the doctor, they may be able to look up your Medicare Number online. If you lost your card, you can easily request a replacement and get a letter to prove your coverage immediately.
- Protect your Number: Because your Medicare Number can still be tied to your personal information, only give out your Medicare Number to trusted sources, like doctors and those you trust to facilitate your Medicare (like United Medicare Advisors).