In the United States, a trip to the emergency room can cost an individual about $2,200 on average!. Retired seniors would struggle to cover that cost if it weren’t for insurance options like Medicare.
However, Medicare doesn’t automatically apply to every senior citizen in the country. Seniors need to have applied for it and received an insurance card to prove their citizenship and age. Younger people with certain diseases, must have their cards to verify their Medicare coverage.
Here’s what to do if you lose your Medicare card and need a replacement.
Importance of Your Medicare Card
Medicare is a type of healthcare coverage available for people 65 or older. You automatically qualify for it when you hit that age. It is also available for people younger than 65 if they have certain diseases or disabilities.
Like any insurance card, you need to have it on you whenever you seek healthcare services. This includes visiting to the hospital, paying for a doctor’s visit, and purchasing prescription drugs.
There are multiple parts of Medicare, as well as private insurance offerings connected to it. The cards you receive will depend on the types of coverage you use.
For example, Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies as a replacement for your standard Medicare offering. As such, you’ll receive a unique card directly from that company.
A standard Medicare card is blue, white, and red. It shows your name, your Medicare number, and indicates which Medicare parts you are entitled to. It will also show the date your coverage began.
Keep in mind that supplemental Medicare plans will have their own cards that you’ll need to carry in addition to your standard card.
Your Replacement Medicare Card
If you happen to lose or damage your Medicare card, you can order a replacement through your Medicare.gov account or print a replacement. You can also call 1-800-MEDICARE to get a replacement card.
It could take about 30 days for your new Medicare card to arrive in the mail. Make sure to double-check the address on your personal Social Security account so that it doesn’t get sent to the wrong place.
You can check the map on Medicare.gov to see the shipping status of your card. They’ll send you an email update when the card is sent out. Try to plan your schedule so that you’re home on the day it’s set to arrive.
Medicare beneficiaries can continue using their current Medicare card until the new one arrives.
Replacing Your Medicare Advantage Plan Card
Replacing a Medicare Advantage card is an entirely different process. Instead of going through the Medicare website, you’ll want to contact your insurance company. You can do this either through the website or by calling them directly.
If you’re not sure whether or not you have an Advantage plan, consider how you receive your coverage. While normal Medicare is acquired through social security, an Advantage plan comes through a private insurer. You must pay premiums to acquire it, though it will be more affordable than standard health insurance.
Anyone who needs to use their insurance before their new card arrives can do so by bringing their Medicare documentation to the pharmacy. They’ll also need their policy number and enrollment confirmation.
The same process applies to supplemental Medicare (Medigap) cards. These are received from insurance companies, though they don’t replace your standard Medicare coverage. Instead, they come as additional cards that you’ll need to carry with you alongside your Plan A and B cards.
Railroad Retirement Board Card
The Railroad Retirement Act allows qualified railroad employees and their family members to be insured through Medicare. If this is applicable to you, you will need to request any replacement cards through the Railroad Retirement Board.
While both Social Security and Railroad Medicare cards look similar, the latter should state who has provided the insurance. Other than that, there is no difference in terms of coverage.
You should receive your new card within 30 days after you’ve called and requested one.
Documents You Will Need
When you enroll for Medicare, some of the documentation you’ll need includes your birth certificate, your social security card, proof of citizenship, and tax information. The tax information will help determine your premiums for Medicare Part B.
After you’re enrolled, you’ll want to hold onto your enrollment letter as well as photocopies of your cards and identification. These will come in handy in case you lose your Medicare card but still need to use the coverage before a replacement arrives.
If your Medicare card has been lost or stolen, it’s important to keep an eye out for potential fraud. A scammer who has obtained your Medicare number can steal your identity, create phantom billing, forge prescriptions, and more. It’s important to notify your provider as soon as possible that you’ve lost your card.
You can check your Medicare Summary Notice for any claims that have been processed. If you notice any strange activity, you should notify the Inspector General’s fraud hotline immediately.
In addition, you’ll want to watch out for any mail scams you might receive. These can include a request to confirm your personal information or a request for some kind of payment. Report these to the proper authorities.
Get a New Card ASAP
A replacement Medicare card will be essential if there are any changes in your current healthcare providers. In addition, these cards hold your access to dental, eye, and medication coverage. You should always have it on you, just in case of emergencies.
Midwest Health Insurance Solutions can help you if you need to gain access to health insurance plans. Our services cover Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans, supplemental plans, and individual health insurance.
If you have questions call at (402) 972-0820 contact us at Midwest Health Insurance Solutions. Our experienced team can help you understand and navigate Medicare’s complexities. Let us be part of your journey toward better health!