When you are eligible for Medicare, your red, white and blue Medicare ID card arrives in the mail.  What happens when it’s lost, stolen, or damaged? There’s no need to worry. Replacing your Medicare card is easy!

Your Medicare card arrives three months before your 65th birthday or your 25th month of getting disability benefits when you are automatically enrolled in Medicare. From the moment of its arrival, you start to understand just how important it is. Every doctor, medical provider, or hospital will need to see it in order for you to receive services that will be covered by your Medicare benefits. You need to carry it with you at all times. If you realize that your Medicare card has gone missing, you should replace it as soon as possible.

How do you replace it?

There are a few ways to replace your Medicare card:

  • Call the Social Security Administration at1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m
  • Call your local Social Security office
  • Go online to MyMedicare.gov. You can print out an official copy of your card immediately.

If you have an identification card issued by a Medicare Advantage plan or Prescription Drug Plan and have lost that membership card, call your plan directly for a new one. If you receive your Medicare benefits through the Railroad Retirement Board, contact them directly to get a replacement card within 30 days.

What will you need to get a replacement Medicare card? You will only need your name, Social Security number, and birthdate.

New Medicare Cards on the Way

Even if you haven’t requested one, new Medicare cards are being issued to all Medicare recipients this year. In an effort to protect your identity, these new cards will no longer have your Social Security number printed on them. Instead, you will be issued a unique Medicare number that will be printed on your card. Don’t be alarmed if you haven’t received it yet. Cards are being sent out to different parts of the country throughout the year. You can continue to use your current one in the meantime.

Laminating Your New Medicare Card

Once your new card arrives, you may notice some changes if you’ve had Medicare for a while. The new cards are paper to make it easier for medical providers to use and copy. Many people have asked, “Can I laminate my card?” Although it is not illegal to do so, Social Security advises against it.  There are built-in security features which may be compromised if laminated. Instead, consider purchasing a plastic ID card holder to keep your card safe and in good condition.