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Medicare Cards & Medicare Beneficiary Identifiers

To improve security and comply with the Medicare Access and Chip Reauthorization Act, the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, declared its intention to begin issuing Medicare Beneficiary Identifiers on Medicare cards.

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The Social Security Number Removal Initiative minimizes the burdens that the transition places on beneficiaries. Although the Medicare Beneficiary Identifiers format shares the HICN’s 11-character standard, CMS intends for it to be easily distinguishable from the old identifiers and easy to read.

By removing the Social Security number from the Medicare card, beneficiaries can better protect their identity.

Will the Medicare Beneficiary Identifiers Have Any Meaning?

No, the Medicare Beneficiary Identifiers are “non-intelligent,” so there is no meaning. Each number is randomly generated. Everyone on Medicare will obtain their own Identifier. Even spouses and dependents with similar numbers will get new different numbers.

How Will the Medicare Beneficiary Identifiers Look on the New Card?

All MBIs will include alphabetic characters at the same positions and exclude individual letters that might be confusable with numbers. None of the alphabetic values include S, L, O, I, B, or Z.The MBI’s 2nd, 5th, 8th, and 9th characters will always be a letter. Position 1, 4, 7, 10, and 11 are always going to be a number. Then, positions 3 and 6 can be a letter or number. Dashes aren’t part of the MBI, and they won’t be entered into the computer.

How to Get a Replacement Medicare Card

If you end up losing your card or the card gets damaged, and you need a replacement card, you can easily print a new one straight from your online Social Security account.

When Will I Get My New Medicare Card?

If you’re automatically signed up for Medicare, you’ll get your card in the mail 3 months before your 65th birthday or your 25th month of collecting disability benefits.

Do I Get a Medicare Card for Medicare Advantage?

Yes. Since private insurance firms offer Medicare Part C, you’ll be issued a separate card from the insurance company. It’s different from the white, red, and blue ID card. It will contain the name of the insurance provider and plan type. If your Medicare Advantage contains Part D, you’ll need just one card for all your prescriptions and medical needs.

Do I Get a Medicare Card for Part D?

Yes. Part D is much like Part C in the aspect that coverage comes from a private insurance company. The Part D card is different than your Medicare card. You’ll show the Part D card to the pharmacist when you get a prescription. The Part D card will also display the insurance company name, the plan name, and the member ID number.

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Do I Get a Medicare Card for Medigap?

Yes, you’ll need the Medigap card when you visit the doctor or any other medical facility. If you lose your card, you need to report the loss to your insurance company as soon as possible.

How to Change the Address on your Medicare Card?

Medicare uses the names and addresses from registering to Social Security. To change your address, log into your social security account, and edit it online. Your ID card is the most critical form of identification you should carry at all times. You must present your card to obtain services.


Are Medicare cards paper or plastic?
Red, white, and blue Medicare cards are made of paper, like Social Security cards.
Can I laminate my Medicare card?
Since lamination may prevent security feature detections, the Social Security Administration does not recommend laminating your Medicare card. However, it’s not illegal to do so.
How to change names on Medicare cards?
You can report a change of name or address with Medicare through Social Security. Either by phone or by visiting a local office.
Can I print out my Medicare card online?
Yes, you can print a copy of the Medicare card online by logging into your myMedicare.gov account.
How can I get my Medicare number without my card?
If you’re new to Medicare and don’t have a card, you can get the Medicare number by signing into your Social Security account. But, if you need to know the number or want a copy of your card, you can log in to your myMedicare.gov account.
Do I need a new Medicare card every year?
No, you do not need a new Medicare card every year. The only dates on your red, white, and blue card are your Part A and Medicare Part B effective dates. However, if you have the old version of the card with your Social Security number on it, you’ll need a new card.
What if my Medicare card has expired?
If you need the new version of the Medicare card, you can request it online on the myMedicare.gov portal.
How long does it take to get a replacement Medicare card?
It takes about 30 days to get a replacement Medicare card.
Should I carry my new Medicare card in my wallet?
You should carry your new card with you. In the case that you need care, you’ll want to have the card on your person.
Can I put my Medicare card on my phone?
You can access your Medicare account online to see your Medicare number. This can be done on a mobile phone.

How to Get a New Medigap Plan and Card

If you’re unhappy with your current Medigap plan or supplemental option, you can sign up for a new policy. When you enroll in a new Medicare Supplement, the new company will issue a card.

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Kayla Hopkins

Kayla Hopkins

Content Editor
Kayla Hopkins is an accomplished writer and Medicare educator serving as the Editor of MedicareFAQ.com. Upon completing her Communications degree from Ohio University, Kayla dedicated her time to understanding the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare. With her extensive background as a Licensed Insurance Agent, she brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her writing.

5 thoughts on "Medicare Cards & Medicare Beneficiary Identifiers"

  1. Will medicare call to get my enrollment date for a new card…the caller ID didn’t make sense and the called this memorial day and the caller sounded foreign.

    1. Hi Tom, This does not sound like a call from Medicare. If you are unsure of the caller, never provide personal information over the phone. The only time this information would be necessary is if you were enrolling in a new plan.

  2. I received a call around 10 am from 217 712 5207. Claiming they were from medicare to inform me about cancer screening if I didn’t take advantage of it right away I would not be able allowed to enter had to do it today


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