Medicare ID cards

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Why Do I Need a Medicare ID Card?

Your Medicare ID card, sometimes called your “red, white, and blue” card, proves that you are enrolled in Medicare Part A, Part B, or both. It’s what you use to gain access to Medicare-covered health services and medical equipment.

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How Do I Get My Medicare ID Card?

Your Medicare ID card, sometimes called your “red, white, and blue” card, proves that you are enrolled in Medicare Part A, Part B, or both. It’s what you use to gain access to Medicare-covered health services and medical equipment.

If you’re receiving retirement benefits

If you’re already receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) benefits, you should receive your red, white, and blue Medicare card roughly three months before you turn 65. You don’t have to do anything to get your card. As long as your address is up-to-date with the Social Security Administration or RRB, you’ll receive it in the mail automatically! If you qualify for Social Security benefits, you’re automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A (hospital insurance). However, to get Medicare Part B (medical insurance) coverage when you turn 65, you will need to enroll in Medicare Part B at the same time as you apply for retirement benefits.

If you’re receiving disability benefits

If you’ve been receiving Social Security or RBB disability benefits for 24 consecutive months, you’ll be automatically enrolled in Medicare, and you’ll receive your Medicare ID card in the mail 25 months after you received your first Social Security check.

For those who have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease), you’ll be automatically enrolled in Medicare the same month your disability benefits begin and should receive your card shortly after that. This is the case regardless of your age.

And if you suffer from end-stage renal disease (ESRD), you’ll need to manually enroll in Medicare to receive your Medicare ID card.

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What if I’m 65 but not receiving retirement benefits yet?

Not everyone is automatically enrolled in Medicare. If you’re getting close to 65 and aren’t yet receiving retirement benefits, you’ll need to manually enroll in Medicare Part A or Part B during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP).

Your IEP starts three months before the month you turn 65 and ends three months after. If you’re approved, you should receive your Medicare card in the mail within 30 days.

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How do I request a replacement Medicare card?

If you’ve lost your Medicare ID card, or if it was damaged or stolen, you can request a new card by using one of the following methods:

Request a new Medicare card online

The fastest and easiest way to get a replacement card is to simply visit the Social Security Administration’s website. Keep in mind, you’ll probably need to provide the following information:

  • Your full legal name as it appears on your Medicare ID card
  • Your Social Security number (even if you receive benefits through your spouse)
  • Your address and contact info, including your phone number or email address

You may also be asked a number of questions to verify your info.

Call Social Security directly

You can call the Social Security Administration directly to request a new Medicare ID card at 1-800-722-1213.

Visit your local Social Security office

You can visit your nearest Social Security Administration office and request a replacement card in person, too. To find your local office, use the Social Security Office Locator tool.

What if I’m outside the US?

If you are living or traveling outside the US, you can still request a replacement Medicare Card online or by phone or you can contact the nearest US consulate or embassy

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How Long Does It Take to Get My Replacement Medicare Card?

Your new Medicare ID card should arrive in the mail in about 30 days. If, however, you need health care services or equipment sooner than that, you can request a temporary letter as proof of enrollment in Medicare. To get a temporary letter of proof, you’ll need to visit your local Social Security Administration office in person.

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Medicare Advantage (Part C) and prescription drug (Part D) cards

Medicare Part C and Part D are health insurance plans regulated by the federal government that you can purchase through a private insurance company. People typically buy them because they cover services or medications that aren’t covered by Original Medicare.

Because of this, if you’re on a Medicare Advantage (Part C) or prescription drug (Part D) plan, you’ll receive a different Medicare ID card than your Original Medicare or red, white, and blue card. This card will generally include your private insurer’s name and logo, as well as information regarding your coverage, and you may need to show it to health care providers in order to get your services or prescriptions covered by Medicare.