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New Medicare Cards Are Coming

Medicare cards

Submitted by Dena Kemmet, Extension Agent/Family and Community Wellness

Each person enrolled in Medicare will soon receive a new Medicare card.

The main reason people will receive new Medicare cards is the cards no longer will have Social Security numbers on them. Medicare beneficiary identifiers will replace Social Security numbers.

This will help keep your information more secure and help protect your identity.

Medicare beneficiaries will get a Medicare number that is unique to them. It will be used only for Medicare transactions such as billing, eligibility status and claim status. People’s coverage and benefits will not change.

Your doctors and other health-care providers know the new cards are coming and will ask for your card when you need care.

Medicare is mailing new Medicare cards from April 2018 through April 2019. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will begin mailing the new Medicare cards by geographic location and other strategies. North Dakota Medicare beneficiaries tentatively are slated to be in the mailing after June 2018.

Here are a few things to know about your new Medicare card:

  • Mailing takes time. Your card may arrive at a different time than your neighbor’s or friend’s card.
  • Destroy your old card once you get your new Medicare card. You can start using your new Medicare card right away.
  • Guard your card. Only give your new Medicare number to your doctors, pharmacists, other health-care providers, insurers or people you trust to work with Medicare on your behalf.
  • Your new card will be paper, which is easier for providers to photocopy and less expensive to issue. You can print your own replacement card if you need one.
  • You still need to keep your Medicare Advantage Card. If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, your Medicare Advantage Plan ID card is your main card for Medicare. You should keep and use it when you need care. However, you also may be asked to show your new Medicare card, so you should carry this card, too.
  • Help is available. If you don’t get your new Medicare card by April 2019, call 800-Medicare (800-633-4227). TTY users can call 1-877-486-2048.

For more information about the new Medicare cards, go to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services website at www.cms.gov/medicare/new-medicare-card/nmc-home.html or contact the North Dakota Department of Insurance’s Consumer Assistance Division at 701-328-9611.

If you’re new to Medicare or would like to gain a better understanding of how it works, I have good news. NDSU Extension and Sakakawea Medical Center (SMC) are teaming up to offer a Turning 65/Medicare Basics class on April 13 at 10 a.m. at the SMC Conference Room. Space will be limited, so registration is required. Additional information is available upon request by calling the Extension office at 873-5195. Some topics that will be covered include: Parts of Medicare, Choosing a supplement plan with Medicare, the initial Medicare health screening, preventative services available to Medicare beneficiaries, and advanced care planning.

Source: Jane Strommen, NDSU Extension gerontology specialist

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