You arrive for an appointment with your doctor and the receptionist asks for your insurance card. The Medicare Card you hand over could tell you a lot about your Medicare and the type of coverage you have.
If You Show Your Original Medicare Card
Your red, white and blue Original Medicare card is proof that you have Medicare coverage. It acts as your insurance card when you have Original Medicare (Part A and Part B). You may also have other cards depending on additional coverage you may have.
Which of the following is in your wallet?
|Card: You use your Medicare card whenever you get medical care.
Coverage: You probably have Original Medicare (Parts A and B), which is provided by the federal government.
|Card: You have a separate card for prescription drugs.
Coverage: You may have a standalone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan from a private insurance company. These plans help with the cost of medications. Original Medicare does not cover prescription drugs.
|Card: You use your Medicare card plus another card for medical care.
Coverage: You probably have a Medicare supplement insurance plan (Medigap) from a private insurance company. This plan helps pay some costs not paid by Original Medicare Parts A and B, such as co-pays.
|Card: You have three health insurance cards.
Coverage: You may have Original Medicare, a standalone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, and a Medicare supplement insurance plan. Together, these three may cover most of your health care costs.
If You Don’t Show Your Medicare Card Your Medicare card is not used as your actual insurance card when you have a Medicare Advantage plan. These plans are another way to get your Medicare benefits. They cover everything Original Medicare (Parts A and B) covers. Many also offer additional benefits, such as coverage for prescription drugs and vision, dental and hearing care.
Do you carry just one insurance card or two? Look for your situation below.
|Card: You use a separate insurance card instead of your Medicare card when you get medical care.
Coverage: You probably have a Medicare Advantage plan from a private insurance company approved by Medicare.
|Card: You use the same card when you get medical care and when you buy prescription drugs.
Coverage: You probably have a Medicare Advantage plan that includes prescription drug coverage.
|Card: You use one card when you get medical care and a separate card for prescription drugs.
Coverage: You may have a special type of Medicare Advantage plan. It could be a Private Fee-For-Service plan or a Medical Savings Account plan. You may also have a standalone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.
The insurance cards you carry could be a clue to understanding more about your Medicare coverage. The cards shown here are just for illustration. Your actual cards may look different from these.
Remember to keep your red, white and blue Medicare card in a safe place. You don’t need to carry it with you if you have a Medicare Advantage plan.
You may want to talk with your plan sponsor about any questions you have. The customer service number is usually on the back of your insurance card.
One Last Thing
Have you heard the news? The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will start removing Social Security numbers from all newly-issued Medicare identification cards going forward — though, it won’t happen overnight. Due to the large number of cards needing changes, HHS has four years to issue modernized cards to new beneficiaries, and another four years to issue updated cards to existing beneficiaries.1
The New Medicare
1 New Medicare Cards Will Not Display Social Security Numbers, Office of the Inspector General, Social Security Administration, April 29, 2015