To help prevent fraud and combat identity theft, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will issue new Medicare cards and numbers between April 2018 and April 2019. You might be wondering how this change affects you.

The most important thing to know about the upcoming new Medicare card is that it won’t change your healthcare plan. You’ll continue to have the same insurance company, doctors, premiums, and benefits you have now. The only change is your identifying number.

Samples of the current and new Medicare cards provided by

The new Medicare number is a great benefit, since you’ll no longer have your Social Security number visible on the card. That makes your card safer and less vulnerable to scammers and thieves. Plus, the card itself is smaller—the same size as a credit card—to better fit your wallet.

Instead of your Social Security number, your new Medicare number will be an 11-digit combination of letters and numbers. There will be no gender or signature line. And your new card will still have the familiar red, white, and blue look you’re used to.

What Do I Need to Do?

The good news is you don’t have to do anything! This change will come automatically. However, if you need to update your mailing address, contact Social Security at or (800) 772-1213. If you’d like more information on the new Medicare card, CMS has set up a new Medicare card website.

When Will I Receive My New Medicare Card?

CMS will begin mailing the cards in April 2018 and will continue through April 2019. The mailing will include your new card and a letter with instructions.

When Can I Use My New Card?

You can use your new Medicare card with your new identifying number as soon as you receive it. Once you get your new card, destroy your old one, and begin using the new card right away. Your healthcare providers will accept both the old and new cards during the transition and until December 31, 2019.

How Can I Prevent Medicare Fraud?

Be aware of anyone you don’t know who contacts you requesting information for your new Medicare card. CMS will never contact you for your Medicare number or other personal information. Don’t share your new Medicare number or other personal information with anyone who contacts you, unless you’ve given them permission in advance.

If you’d like more information about Medicare fraud, visit the Medicare fraud website.


Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed this information.


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