Starting in April, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will begin mailing new Medicare ID cards to members.  Over the next year, CMS will mail each beneficiary a card with a new Medicare number. 

Here are 10 things to know about your new Medicare card from CMS: 

  1. Your new card will automatically come to you. You don't need to do anything as long as your address is up to date. If you need to update your address, visit your mySocial Security account.
  2. Your new card will have a new Medicare number that's unique to you, instead of your Social Security Number. This will help to protect your identity.
  3. Your Medicare coverage and benefits will stay the same.
  4. Mailing takes time. Your card may arrive at a different time than your friend's or neighbor's.
  5. Your new card is paper, which is easier for many providers to use and copy.
  6. Once you get your new Medicare card, destroy your old Medicare card and start using your new card right away.
  7. If you're in a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO), your Medicare Advantage Plan ID card is your main card for Medicare -- you should still keep and use it whenever you need care. However, you also may be asked to show your new Medicare card, so you should carry this card too.
  8. Doctors, other health care providers and facilities know it's coming and will ask for your new Medicare card when you need care, so carry it with you.
  9. Only give your new Medicare Number to doctors, pharmacists, other health care providers, your insurers, or people you trust to work with Medicare on your behalf.
  10. If you forget your new card, you, your doctor or other health care provider may be able to look up your Medicare Number online.

Medicare members should also be careful about scams involving their coverage.  According to CMS, Medicare will never call you uninvited and ask you to give them personal or private information to get your new Medicare number and card. If you believe you have been contacted as part of a scam, contact CMS at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).