A Medicare card is a red, white, and blue card you receive in the mail usually three months before your 65th birthday or during your 25th month of receiving disability benefits. The Medicare card indicates if you have either Medicare Part A, Part B, or Original Medicare (Part A & B). When you look at the Medicare card it will indicate your legal name, Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) which is a number unique to you, and coverage start date.
Those who are enrolled in Medicare receive cards. You may use it for hospital visits, receiving health care services, and more. With the Medicare card containing such important information, it’s clear that you would want to protect it from being damaged.
Learn more: New Medicare Cards – What You Need To Know
thumbIf you have your Medicare card and want more information on your benefits and Medicare Supplement plans, contact us at 800-208-4974
Why you should not laminate your card
If you are new to Medicare you may ask, “Can I laminate my Medicare card?” Even though the government doesn’t rule against laminating your Medicare card, the Social Security Administration highly discourages laminating important documents such as the Medicare cards and your Social security card. Laminating the card could cause issues with the security features when scanned at the hospital or doctor’s office.
Also, when you laminate the card it involves melting plastic onto paper. As a result, it may damage the ink by blurring letters and numbers. When this happens it’s important to get a Medicare card replacement.
What is lamination?
The process of laminating is putting a piece of paper between two sheets of plastic and putting the sheets through a laminating machine. Once the sheets are in the machine, the plastic is melted together, sealing the paper inside and making it stronger and lasting longer.
Even though the lamination may protect the paper it can still be damaged because of the heat factor. As a result of the heat could smudge the ink on the paper. In addition, the lamination would make it difficult for you to sign your signature on the surface. Even though laminating your Medicare card may protect it, it will have its
What is an alternative to laminating my card?
Instead of laminating your Medicare card, you can purchase a plastic ID card holder to protect your card. You can head over to your local business supply store and purchase the plastic holder for a few dollars and it will keep it protected and the safety features will not be compromised.
What to do if your Medicare card gets damaged, lost or stolen
If you decided to laminate your card and it’s no longer usable, or it was damaged, or even stolen, fortunately, you can easily get Medicare replacement cards. Your first option would be to contact the United States Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213. They are available to call Monday through Friday from 7 am-7 pm. Another option is to contact your local Social security office and inform them of your situation. The easiest option would be to get a replacement online on ssa.gov and access your account.
If you don’t have an account on the Social Security website, you can easily create one online. Once you have an account you can log in, select the “Replacement Documents” tab and choose the option “Mail my replacement, Medicare Card.” After you’ve sent that request, Social Security will send you a card within the next 30 days.
According to the Federal Communications Commission, the government has not and will not issue plastic Medicare cards. The United States government has advised people to be aware that the Social Security office will never contact you about updating your current Medicare card in exchange for a plastic one. This has been a common scam going around and the government wants you to avoid this. So no, there will not be a plastic Medicare card.
Medicare cards are distributed as paper cards in order to make it easier for doctors and healthcare providers to scan and copy the card. In addition, paper cards are more cost efficient for the U.S. government.
It’s important to keep your Medicare card safe. Whether it’s from water, rips, or other external damages, it’s best to keep your card safe in a plastic holder. Avoid card lamination all costs so you don’t have to deal with the security features being compromised. No need for replacement of medicare card when you don’t laminate.
thumbIf you have any questions about Medicare plans or Medicare supplements (Medigap), call us today at 800-208-4974