Your Medicare card is your proof that you hold Medicare health insurance. This card shows whether you have hospital insurance (Part A), medical insurance (Part B), or both and states when your coverage started. In many cases, you’ll need to present your Medicare card when you receive health services like seeing a doctor, getting an x-ray, or filling a prescription for medication. But what should you do you if your card is lost or stolen? The following steps will help you secure a replacement Medicare card.
Apply For A Replacement Medicare Card
The U.S. Social Security Administration handles most replacement Medicare cards. You can secure your new card from this government department in a number of ways:
- Visit your local Social Security office. Use the online Social Security Office Locator to find details of your closest office.
- Apply online via the My Social Security portal of the U.S. Social Security Administration website. You don’t need to receive Social Security benefits to use this service.
- Sign in to your My Social Security account or choose “Create an Account” to establish your account.
- Click the “Replacement Documents” tab.
- Choose “Mail my replacement Medicare card.”
- Call the National Social Security Hotline at 800-772-1213 or 800-325-0778 for hearing- or speech-impaired users needing teletypewriter (TTY) assistance. The hotline opens from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every weekday.
If you’re a former rail industry employee, the Railroad Retirement Board provides your Medicare coverage. You’ll need to contact this body to arrange your replacement card.
- Visit your local Railroad Retirement Board field office. You can search for your nearest field office using its zip code, city search, or map online.
- Apply online by completing the Railroad Retirement Online Service Request form.
Call the Railroad Retirement Board Help Line at 877-772-5772 or 312-751-4701 for TTY assistance. The help line is open from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on weekdays.
Provide the Right Information
Before the relevant body will grant a replacement Medicare card, you will need to provide key information to prove your identity:
- Your full name as it appears on your most recent Social Security card
- Your Social Security number
- Your date of birth
You should also confirm that the U.S. Social Security Administration or Railroad Retirement Board has your correct address on file, as replacement Medicare cards are sent by mail. If you’re applying online, you can update your address or name through the My Social Security portal.
Make sure the official body also has your current phone number or email address so that a representative can easily contact you if there are any problems processing your replacement card.
Wait For Your Replacement Medicare Card
After providing all relevant information, you should receive your replacement Medicare card in the mail within 30 days.
If you need proof of your Medicare coverage before this time — to see a doctor or fill a prescription, for example — you could ask for a letter proving your Medicare status. You should receive this temporary proof in the mail in approximately 10 days.
If you need immediate proof of your Medicare coverage, visit your local Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board field office in person. A representative will be able to issue you a temporary proof of Medicare coverage letter on the spot.
Contact Your Additional Medicare Plan
If you receive benefits from a Medicare Advantage Plan (health maintenance organization, preferred provider organization, or prescription drug plan) or Medicare Supplement plan (Medigap) and lose the associated card, you’ll need to contact the administrators of your plan directly to order a replacement. If only your Medicare plan card is lost or stolen, you do not need to contact the U.S. Social Security Administration or Railroad Retirement Board at all.
Take Steps to Avoid Problems in the Future
Having your Medicare card lost or stolen can be a stressful experience. However, once you’ve organized a replacement card you can and should take steps to minimize hassles in the future.
- Keep your insurance details safe. Store your insurance cards in a safe place. Make photocopies of the cards and write down the numbers on them so you have records if they’re ever lost or stolen in future.
- Be alert to Medicare fraud. If your card was lost or stolen, there’s a chance your old card may be used fraudulently. Check your Medicare Summary Notices carefully. If you notice listings for any health care services you did not receive, call the Inspector General’s fraud hotline at 800-HHS-TIPS (800-447-8477) or 800-377-4950 for TTY assistance to report your findings.
A stolen or lost Medicare card is nothing to lose sleep over. It’s relatively easy to replace this vital proof of health insurance.