The number that you’re used to seeing on your Medicare card is about to change. For years, your Social Security number was used to identify you, clearly visible on the front of your card. But starting in April of 2018, Medicare will remove your Social Security number and assign a new number, changing it to a unique, randomly assigned number. The goal is to mail the new cards beginning April, 2018 through April of 2019.
Why the Change?
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), removing Social Security numbers from the cards and replacing them with randomly assigned numbers will “help prevent fraud, combat identify theft and safeguard taxpayer dollars.”
Your new identification number as it appears on your new card will actually be a combination of numbers and uppercase letters—a unique randomly assigned number, specific to you.
Expect to see your new card arrive by mail starting sometime after April of this year. Along with your new card, you should receive directions on what to do with your old card. But don’t worry, changes in your card will not change your Medicare benefits in any way. And in the event of confusion, doctors and health care practitioners will be accepting both versions (your old and your new card) through December 31, 2019.
Curious what the new cards will look like? You can get a sneak peak in the 2018 Medicare and You Guide, which should have gone out by mail this past September.