All About Your Medicare Card

Medicare CardHermera/Thinkstock
The size of a credit card, your Medicare card is your ticket to getting coverage. If you’re already receiving Social Security benefits, you’ll automatically get Medicare Part A and Part B coverage the first day of the month you turn 65 (or a month earlier if your birthday’s on the first of the month). If you’re under age 65 and disabled, Medicare coverage begins after you’ve received Social Security benefits for 24 months. In either case, your card should arrive three months before coverage starts. But if you’re turning 65 and not yet receiving Social Security, you’ll have to sign up for Medicare Part A and/or Part B. Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 or sign up online at three months before your 65th birthday. Enrolling in Original Medicare takes less than 10 minutes!

Make room in your wallet: You may actually have several Medicare-related health insurance cards to carry. You’ll have a separate card if you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage or Medigap plan. And if you have a separate Part D prescription drug plan, you’ll have a card for that, too.

Important note: Your Social Security number is printed on your Original Medicare card. To avoid identity theft, never let anyone else use your card, don’t give it out to anyone who calls (unless you’ve requested phone assistance from Medicare or are signing up for a plan by phone) or comes to your home uninvited, and consider writing “See ID” in the signature line on your card. Your health-care providers and the stores where you shop will then have to ask for a picture ID to confirm that you’re the cardholder.

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