Medicare is a health insurance program designed for people aged 65 or above. However, those with specific disabilities and below 65 can also enroll in the program. You can take advantage of your coverage with a Medicare card that you’ll get via mail upon successful signup.
Notably, many changes have happened to the Medicare card in the last few years, like removing SSN. So, whether you have already enrolled in the Original Medicare or are still considering it, you should be aware of some important things about the Medicare card.
But before we look at them, let me tell you that the program is meant to cover only part of your hospital bill or the cost of the most long-term care. It does not cover all the expenses incurred.
Here are some of the expenses that Medicare will not cover, and you must know about them.
Coming to the Medicare Card, here are a few things that you need to know.
Know Your Medicare Card
Anyone enrolled in the program gets a three-colored card — blue at the top, white at the middle, and red at the bottom. A Medicare card is proof that you are covered under the Original Medicare and is required to avail of the benefits provided therein.
Here is some basic information about your card that every beneficiary must know:
- Your card has a Medicare number that is unique to you.
- You will no longer find SSN printed on your Medicare card. It’s been removed from the card for security reasons.
- The card shows the plans you’re enrolled in — Medicare Part A (mentioned as Hospital) or Part B (mentioned as Medical), or both.
- The date at which your coverage will begin.
Besides the basic information, there are other important things to note:
- Mailing takes time: If you have enrolled in Original Medicare but have not received your card yet — don’t worry — it takes time for the card to be delivered via mail.
- Dispose of your old card: Once you get your new card, make sure you properly destroy the old one. Don’t just throw it away. Instead, shred it so that nobody could misuse the information on the card.
- Don’t give your Medicare number to anyone. And even if you have to, be cautious with whom you share your details. Share your Medicare number only with those who are trustworthy, such as doctors or healthcare providers.
- Use paper cards as it is easy to scan or print.
- When you visit a hospital or a care center, carry your Medicare card.
Getting a New Card
Once you have chosen the plan and enrolled in it, your card will be delivered to your mail. Sometimes, it may take time, so don’t worry. Or you can download it online from your Social Security account.
If you have enrolled in Original Medicare automatically, your card will reach three months before you turn 65 or after a year of receiving your disability benefits. If you haven’t received your card, you can request another one online upon being enrolled by default.
If you’re already receiving Social Security benefits, you have to apply for Medicare online, by phone (at 1-800-772-1213), or in person at the Social Security office.
How to Replace Your Card
It is possible that your card gets damaged or you lose it somewhere. In that case, you can get a new copy by requesting online via your Social Security account. If you don’t have a Social Security account, you have to create one to request a new card.
You can also apply for another copy offline by contacting your local Social Security office or calling 1-800-772-1213.
As per Health and Human Services Department, your replacement card may take up to 30 days to arrive in the mail. However, you can download a copy from your Medicare account until the mail arrives.
If you believe that anyone could use your Medicare card, if stolen, you can call at 1-800-633-4227.
How to Use the Card to Get the Benefits
Indeed, the Medicare card is proof that you’re enrolled in the Original Medicare. Therefore, you have to show it to a doctor, hospital, or healthcare provider when you’re taking services.
You cannot use an Original Medicare card in place of Medicare Advantage or vice versa. Thus, make sure that you have the right Medicare card in your hands.
Similarly, people who have a Medicare drug plan will be asked to show the Part D card along with proof of Medicaid at the time of filling a prescription.
What Does It Cover?
It depends on the plans you choose. Part A means it covers hospital expenses. And part B means it covers outpatient services and supplies needed to diagnose. In addition, preventive services like cancer screening are also included in it.
But alongside your Medicare, if you have also bought a Medicare Advantage plan, it provides extra benefits, such as vision, hearing, and dental covers.
Protecting Your Card
You must not expose your Medicare card details to anyone. However, you can share your Medicare number with health care providers, your insurance company, or people you trust that work with Medicare.
Personal information includes your Social Security number, Medicare number, credit card, or bank account details. Your Medicare account username and password also come under personal information.
Even though SSN has been removed from the new card, the card can be misused.
Here are some ways that will work for you towards protecting your card.
- Never give your Medicare number to anyone contacting you by phone, email, or approaching you in person if you have not given them details before.
- Don’t provide your personal information to get a quote on plans. Your insurance plan representative will call and ask you only if you are already a member of the plan. A customer representative from 1-800 can call you if you had called them before and left a message or your agent told you that someone would call you.
- Only share your Medicare number with trusted doctors, your insurance company, or their licensed brokers and agents.
- Carefully go through the terms and conditions concerning your personal information being used.
Whether you already have a Medicare card or will get one when you enroll, being aware of the measures to protect your card is essential.
If you want to know about several laws that guard you regarding Medicare frauds, the piece below is a must-read for you.
Are you willing to change your Medicare plan or still struggling to find a suitable plan for yourself? Whatever the case, our licensed agents specializing in Medicare are there to assist.
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