How to Replace a Stolen Medicare Card
There are many reasons why someone may try to steal your Medicare card. Among them are to obtain their own medical care using your information, to purchase drugs, or to create fake billings to Medicare in your name, according to the Office of Inspector General (OIG). Whatever the circumstances may be, there are steps you can take to replace your stolen Medicare card and reduce the risk of identity theft.
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In the past, this was much easier because your Medicare number—the one listed on the face of your Medicare card—was the same as your Social Security Number. As with any document or card that contains your SSN, this put you at an elevated risk of someone stealing your card.
Reducing The Risk of a Stolen Medicare Card
In an effort to reduce the risk of theft, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services began issuing new Medicare cards with the SSNs removed. This initiative started in April 2018 and it will continue until April 2019, which is when all Medicare cards have been effectively replaced.
While this should help limit the appeal of obtaining your Medicare card, there remains the possibility that it could be stolen. What should you do if this happens to you?
Replacing A Stolen Original Medicare Card
According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, if your Original Medicare card is stolen, lost, or destroyed, you should sign into your online Social Security account, select the “Replacement Documents” tab, and choose the “Mail my replacement Medicare Card” option.
Upon receiving your request, your new Medicare card will be mailed to the address the agency has on file for you and you can expect to receive it in approximately 30 days. If you don’t have an online account or wish to speak with someone at Medicare directly, you can call them at (800) 772-1213 (TTY: 800-325-0778). Representatives are available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Another option is to contact your local Social Security Office and request a new card through them. If you’re unsure how to do that, the Social Security Administration has a free online search you can use to identify your local office. Once you enter your zip code, the site will give you the information for the one in your area. This includes providing its address, phone number, and hours of operation.
Also, after making your request for a new Medicare card, MyMedicare.gov notes that you can check on its status by signing into your account and clicking on the “Order History” tab. This will tell you where your replacement card is in the process.
No one from Medicare will ever call you and request this information.
Additional Medicare Card Protection Advice
Medicare.gov offers additional advice that can be helpful when it comes to adequately protecting your Medicare card. This includes not revealing your Medicare card information to anyone who requests it via phone, email, or in person. Instead, the only people you should give this information to are the following:
- Your healthcare team (doctors, specialists, etc.)
- Insurers you currently use
- Individuals in your community who work directly with Medicare (like those associated with the State Health Insurance Assistance Program)
Additionally, if someone calls you and requests your card information, hang up immediately. No one from Medicare will ever call you and request this information. After hanging up, call Medicare at (800) 633-4227 and let them know what happened.
In the event that you have already provided this information to someone you now suspect may want to use it illegally, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. You can do this online by selecting the type of complaint you want to file (such as identity theft or scams) and entering the requested information.
It’s also important to check over your medical bills, Medicare Summary Notices, and Explanation of Benefits to make sure they’re accurate. In the event that you notice something suspicious or suspect that you may be a victim of medical fraud, you can contact any of the following agencies for help:
- Medicare Call Center at (800) 633-4227 (TTY: 877-486-20148)
- OIG Hotline at (800) 447-8477 (TTY: 800-377-4950) or via email at [email protected]
- Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft Hotline at (877) 438-4338 (TTY: 866-653-4261)