Medicare card

What Is The Purpose Of My Medicare Card?

Your Medicare card tells providers you have Medicare coverage and what type of coverage you have, as well as when your coverage first began. The unique identification number is used by your health care providers to bill Medicare for covered services. To prevent Medicare fraud, don’t let your Medicare card or number fall into the wrong hands. Keep your card safe.

As of 2019, Medicare cards no longer use your Social Security number, which makes them much safer to carry around. The cards are made of paper, which makes them easier and cheaper to produce.

Your Medicare card is your ticket to health care. Often, providers will not perform services for people who cannot prove that they have health insurance unless it is an emergency. Carrying your Medicare card or plan card in your wallet will allow you to access care.

Using Your Medicare Card

Your Medicare card identifies you within Social Security’s system. You use it just like you used your past health insurance cards: to give proof of insurance and direct health care providers to your coverage.

When you visit the doctor, emergency room, specialist, outpatient clinic, hospital, or other facility, you need to show the provider or their receptionist your Medicare card when asked. This allows them to bill Medicare properly.

The 11-digit number on your Medicare card is unique to you. The billing department of the hospital or healthcare facility will use your specific Medicare number to submit a claim to Medicare. That is what makes it so important to protect your number: preventing healthcare fraud.

On your Medicare card are also identifiers that note if you have Part A and/or Part B coverage. If you are enrolled in both, you will both see HOSPITAL and MEDICAL indicated on your card, along with the starting date of your coverage for each part.

What If You Have Medicare Advantage?

What if you don’t just have Original Medicare? When you are part of a Medicare Advantage plan, you will receive a separate insurance card from that plan. That plan’s card is the one you present to your health care providers, not your Medicare card.

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan and don’t need to carry your Medicare card around with you, keep it safe. You still need to hold onto the card.

How to Protect Your Medicare Card

If you don’t need to carry your Medicare card around with you, protect it by storing it for safekeeping in a secure location in your home.

Only give your Medicare number to your health care providers. That means that nobody outside of your doctor, pharmacist, insurer, and people you trust should ever learn your number.

If you need a replacement card, you can request a new one from Social Security.

Want to know more about keeping your Medicare number safe? Medicare Sharks can help you find resources to protect your information from falling into the wrong hands.