• The Medicare Answers

#MedicareMonday: New Medicare Cards


Medicare will begin mailing the new Medicare Cards out on April 1st, 2018. They will release cards by geographic area. The first mail wave will occur between April and June 2018 and the states that will be included are:


  • Delaware

  • District of Columbia

  • Maryland

  • Pennsylvania

  • Virginia

  • West Virginia

  • Alaska

  • American Samoa

  • California

  • Guam

  • Hawaii

  • Northern Mariana Islands

  • Oregon

CMS will release the other mailing waves throughout the next year. Remember that there are multiple factors that will determine when cards are mailed. Your card may not arrive at the same time as your friends, family or even neighbors.

The new cards will no longer contain Medicare beneficiary social security numbers. You will be receiving a new, unique 11-character Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI). The characters are numbers and upper-case letters. Numbers are 0-9 and letters A-Z, except for S, L, O, I, B and Z. This is to protect beneficiaries from identity theft. The new MBIs will not affect or change Medicare benefits. Destroy your old Medicare card as soon as you get the new one.

If you have an MAPD or PDP plan, continue to use the health insurance card assigned by your carrier. Start using your new MBI as soon as you get it. Your physicians’ offices should be well-equipped to receive them. You cannot submit both numbers on the same transaction. If, for some reason, you forget your card, there is a grace period from April 2018 until December 31, 2019. On January 1st, 2020, beneficiaries will only be allowed to use the new MBI.

After you receive your new card in the mail, you can log into www.mymedicare.gov to get your Medicare Beneficiary Identifier. Medicare patients with Railroad Benefits can ask for a replacement card through the RRB SMAC Beneficiary Contact Center at 1-800-833-4455, log into www.rrb.gov, or call the RRB Office at 1-877-772-5772.