How to Get or Replace Your Medicare Card

You'll get your card automatically when you first join. Here's how to get a new one if yours is lost or damaged.

John RossheimFeb 12, 2021
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When you need to get a Medicare card or replace one, you can easily request it online or by phone. Whether you’re enrolling in Medicare for the first time or replacing a lost, stolen or damaged card, obtaining the traditional red, white and blue Medicare card shouldn't be an obstacle to receiving and paying for health care.

The card includes your name and Medicare number, and if you're an Original Medicare beneficiary, it will show if you have Part A (hospital coverage), Part B (medical coverage) or both. You’ll use this card to get your Medicare-covered services. If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan or Part D prescription drug plan, you’ll get a card from the provider when you enroll.

If you signed up for Medicare or Social Security, your card will be mailed

If you’re already receiving Social Security benefits as your 65th birthday approaches, you’ll automatically be enrolled in Medicare, and your card will be sent by mail to you.

Otherwise, soon after you sign up for Medicare, you’ll be mailed a "Welcome to Medicare" package that will include your card.

Replace a lost, stolen or damaged Medicare card

If you can’t find your Medicare card or it's damaged (it's printed on paper, not plastic), there are a few ways to replace it. You can get a replacement almost instantly by logging in to your secure account on Medicare.gov to print an official copy of your card at home, at a public library or wherever you have secure access to a printer. You can log in to or create your online account on Medicare.gov.

Alternatively, you can call Medicare at (800) 633-4227 to request that a new card be sent by mail. You can also call or visit your local Social Security office to apply for a replacement card. The downside of requesting a card through these agencies? You won’t receive it for about 30 days.

If you're at a medical facility and realize you don’t have your card, ask the provider to look up your Medicare number online, which they often can. It’s also a good idea to make a copy of your Medicare card and keep it on your phone or in another safe place.

Medicare Advantage enrollees get a separate card

If you have Medicare Advantage, you’ll need your plan’s card to receive services. That card will be mailed to you automatically soon after you enroll. If you need to replace it, call your plan provider. Likewise, if you need a card for your prescription drug plan (Medicare Part D), contact your provider.

In any case, always keep your Medicare card and Medicare number in a safe place. Medicare fraud is a big problem, and it will be a hassle if your card or number is stolen. If you believe that someone is using your Medicare number, call (800) 633-4227 to report it.

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