By Robert Longley. US Government Expert
Robert has logged over 26 years of experience in municipal government in Texas and California cities. He has also served as About's Guide to U.S. Government since October 1997.
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Should your Medicare card be lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed, it is important that you replace it as soon as possible.
While Medicare benefits, payments, and covered services are administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS ), Medicare cards are issued and replaced by the Social Security Administration (SSA ).
How to Replace Your Card
You can replace your Medicare card in any of the following ways:
- Log on to your MyMedicare.gov account and select “Replacement Medicare card.”
- Call the Social Security Administration (SSA) at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY: 1-800-325-0778).
No matter how you order a replacement Medicare card, you will need to provide personal information including your full name, Social Security number, date of birth, and phone number.
Replacement Medicare cards are sent to the last mailing address you have on file with the Social Security Administration, so always notify the SSA when you move.
According to the SSA, your replacement Medicare card will arrive in the mail about 30 days after you request it.
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If you need proof that you have Medicare sooner than 30 days, you also can request a letter which you will receive in about 10 days.
If you ever need
immediate proof of Medicare coverage to see a doctor of get a prescription, you should call or visit your local Social Security office.
Note that if you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, other Medicare health plan or a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, contact your plan to replace a lost or damaged membership card.
Taking Care of Your Medicare Card: The ID Theft Threat
You have probably noticed that the beneficiary identification number on your Medicare card is simply your Social Security number, plus one or two capital letters. Probably not the best idea, but that’s just the way it is.
Since your Medicare card has your Social Security number on it, losing it or having it stolen could expose you to identity theft .
As with your Social Security card and Social Security number, never tell your Medicare ID number or give your Medicare card to anyone except your doctor, health care provider or Medicare representative. If you are married, you and your spouse should have separate Medicare cards and ID numbers.
In order to have Medicare pay for your services, some doctors, pharmacies and other health care providers may require you to bring your Medicare card with you each time you go to them. But at all other times, you should not carry your Medicare card around with you. Instead, leave it home in a safe place.
Finally, if you think someone is using your Medicare ID number or Social Security number you should:
- Create an Identity Theft Report online using the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC ) Identity Theft reporting tool. An Identity Theft Report gives you some important rights that can help you recover from the theft.