Understanding Your Medicare Card

 

Understanding Your Medicare Card is important so you know how best to use it.  When you’re enrolled in Medicare, you’ll receive in the mail your red, white, and blue Medicare card.  If you’re automatically enrolled, you’ll get your Medicare card in the mail 3 months before your 65th birthday or your 25th month of getting disability benefits.  Your Medicare card shows that you have Medicare health insurance Part A (Hospital Insurance), Part B (Medical Insurance) or both, and it shows the date your coverage starts.  Knowing how your card works, how to report a stolen Medicare Card, how preventing ID Fraud are all covered in this article so you are better informed.

 

The Medicare Card

When you are Turning 65 in Colorado, Social Security sends you the red, white and blue Medicare card in the mail.  It will look like the card below.  Be sure to know what each part of the card means.

We created a simple graphic for you below..


The red, white, and blue Medicare card

red white blue medicare card


If you use your Original Medicare benefits, along with a Medicare Supplement (sometimes called a Medigap) along with a Part D Prescription Drug Plan, be sure to let your doctor, hospital, or other health care provider see your card when you need hospital, medical or other health related services.  Take this red, white, and blue Medicare card along with a separate card for your Supplement and Drug plan is how you receive all your benefits.

Be sure to carry your card with you when you’re away from home. Let your doctor, hospital, or other health care provider see your card when you need a hospital, medical or other health services.

If you have Medicaid, you will be mailed a separate membership card.  You will use that card; along with your Medicare card for your providers.  So keep them safe and bring them with your Medicare card to the doctor or the pharmacy. You will need to let your providers know which plans you have.

If you sign up for Part C (Medicare Advantage) you will receive a Membership ID card from the company you signed up with.  In this case, you will file your red, white, and blue Medicare card in a safe place.  You will use your Medicare Advantage card for all of your health related services instead.  DO NOT DESTROY YOUR MEDICARE CARD!  Often times we have seen our clients have thought they no longer needed the card since they were enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan.  It is true you do not typically need the card for provider visits but you should retain the card for the future.

What if I lose my Medicare card?

If you lose your card or if you believe someone has stolen your Medicare card, you can request a replacement from Social Security.  It is important to report your stolen Medicare card.

Social Security will mail you the new card in about 30 days. If you need proof sooner, just let Social Security know. They can give you proof that you can use until you get a replacement card.

Read more on replacing your stolen card here.

Identity theft: protect yourself

Identity theft is a serious crime that happens when someone uses your personal information without your consent to commit fraud or other crimes.  You need to Guard your personal information, things like your name and your Social Security, Medicare, or credit card numbers.

Here are some Prevent identity theft tips from Medicare’s Website

  • Don’t give your personal information to someone who calls or comes to your home uninvited to get you to join a Medicare plan.
  • Give personal information to only:
    • Doctors, other health care providers, and plans approved by Medicare.
    • Any insurer who pays benefits on your behalf.
    • Trusted people in the community who work with Medicare, like your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) or Social Security.
  • Be familiar with how Medicare uses your personal information.  If you join a Medicare plan, the plan will let you know how it will use your personal information.

If you suspect identity theft or feel like you gave your personal information to someone you shouldn’t have, contact the Federal Trade Commission.

Read more on Protecting your ID and learning about protecting yourself against Medicare Fraud here.

What if I have someone help me with decisions?

By law, Medicare must have your written permission (an “authorization”) to use or give out your personal medical information for any purpose that isn’t set out in the privacy notice contained in the Medicare & You handbook.  You may take back (“revoke”) your written permission at any time, except if Medicare has already acted based on your permission. ~ Medicare’s Website

So it depends on what kind of help you need and if you are with your helper.

  • If they are there with you (in your presence): They do not need to be an authorized representative.  You can start the call to Medicare or your plan.  Then tell the person who answers the phone that you want someone there with you to ask the questions and get information for you.  Hand the phone over to get your helper to ask the questions.
  • If they are not there with you (in your presence): They may need to be an authorized representative.  You may be able to simply sign a letter that says the plan can give information to your helper and send it to the company.  Start by asking the company if they would take that kind of letter. If not, you would need to sign an official form to make your helper your authorized representative.

Whether or not you use an authorized representative to make Medicare decisions, it’s important to protect your personal information.

What if I get a call from the Social Security Administration?

You may have left some blanks in your application for enrollment or for extra help with costs, so they may call you to ask for the missing information. They will only ask you for the information that’s missing from the application. Do not give out any other information. If you are not sure the person who is calling you is actually with the Social Security Administration, call the Social Security Administration back at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY users call 1-800-325-0778), and they should be able to confirm the call was legitimate.

checkmark NOTE

Medicare will mail new red, white and blue Medicare cards between April 2018 and April 2019.  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.  The new card won’t change your coverage or benefits.

You don’t need to take any action to get your new Medicare card.  Medicare will never contact you for your Medicare number or other personal information.  Don’t share your Medicare number or other personal information with anyone who contacts you by phone, email, or by approaching you in person, unless you’ve given them permission in advance.  Learn more about the change here.

Remember

Healthy Colorado Insurance can answer many of your Medicare questions.  Give us a call at 1-844-252-6400 or email medicare@healthycoloradoinsurance.com.

However some you have to contact Medicare directly.  You can reach them by phone or mail.

1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) TTY 1-877-486-2048

1-800-MEDICARE
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For specific billing questions and questions about your claims, medical records, or expenses, log into MyMedicare.gov, or

Mailing address
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
7500 Security Blvd
Baltimore, MD 21244-1850

Mail Medicare at
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