New Medicare cards issued

Published 4:39 am Saturday, October 13, 2018

For millions of U.S. citizens, including those in Louisiana, a new Medicare card is coming soon.

From now until April 2019, Medicare is mailing new cards to the more than 60 million Americans with Medicare. The 843,951 Louisiana residents with Medicare will begin receiving their cards this week, according to information from the Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The new cards will no longer have a citizen’s Social Security number on them. Instead, they’ll have a new Medicare number that’s unique to each citizen and will be used for only that citizen’s Medicare coverage.

All Medicare benefits will remain exactly the same. Nothing about any citizen’s health care coverage will change.

A recent federal law requires the removal of Social Security numbers from Medicare cards to help protect citizens from identity theft. Many people asked for the new safeguard, and Congress responded.

HHS officials remind citizens that they don’t need to do anything or pay anyone to get the new cards.

“If someone claiming to be from Medicare calls you and requests your Social Security number or other personal information, that’s a scam,” said Bob Moos, Southwest public affairs director for the HHS’s U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “Hang up and call Medicare at 1-800-633-4227 to report the incident.

“Likewise, if anyone tries to charge you a fee for the new card — or for processing a ‘temporary’ card until your new card arrives — that’s a scam, too. It’s another scheme to get your bank or credit card information.”

Moos said that Medicare will never call a citizen uninvited and ask anyone to provide personal information to receive their new cards.

Medicare will send the cards to the address each citizen has on file with Social Security. If any citizen needs to update his or her mailing address, contact Social Security at or call 1-800-772-1213.

Because of the many cards to be mailed, they’re being sent out in waves — several states at a time. Louisiana residents with Medicare will receive their cards over the next month, Moos said.

“When you do receive your card, destroy your old one. Don’t just toss it in the trash, where a crook can get hold of it,” he said. “Cut it into small pieces so that your Social Security number can’t be read.

“Then, start using your new card right away. Doctors and other health care providers know the new cards are beginning to arrive in mailboxes and will ask for yours when you need care, so carry it with you.”

If a citizen is in a Medicare Advantage plan, the ID card will remain that citizen’s main card for health care benefits.

“Keep it and use it when you require care, though it’s smart to have your new Medicare card as well,” Moos said.

Look for the new card in the mailbox soon. If anyone has any questions or needs help, visit or call 1-800-633-4227.