Watch Out For Your Medicare Card in the Mail

Between April 2018 and April 2019, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will send new cards to everyone enrolled in Medicare. The cards will be mailed in waves by geographic region. Below is the anticipated mailing schedule:

  • Wave 1: April – June 2018 – Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia
  • Wave 2: April – June 2018 – Alaska, American Samoa, California, Guam, Hawaii, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon
  • Wave 3: After June 2018 – Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin
  • Wave 4: After June 2018 – Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont
  • Wave 5: After June 2018 – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina
  • Wave 6: After June 2018 – Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wyoming
  • Wave 7: After June 2018 – Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, U.S. Virgin Islands

The CMS is issuing new cards due to a federal law, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, which mandated new Medicare cards. The law’s goal is to prevent medical billing fraud and identity theft. The CMS is assigning every participant an 11-digit Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI). Every participant will be randomly assigned an MBI number, even if their eligibility is based on a spouse’s earnings record. As a result, the new cards will not include social security numbers. Your MBI is a unique number and should be treated as protected health information.

CMS will send the new card automatically and will not contact Medicare enrollees in advance or ask them to confirm their social security number before mailing a new card. We advise all participants to be aware of scams whereby someone claims to represent Medicare and asks for a social security number. Once you receive your new Medicare card, you should shred your old Medicare card as you would with any document containing a social security number.


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