It’s always good to have your Medicare card on you to ensure you receive affordable care. Once you get your Medicare card, we recommend taking a photo of it with your phone, so you always have the information handy. You can also make note of your Medicare number, so you have it whenever you need it. Finally, you can create a digital copy of your Medicare card by downloading the Chapter Medicare app.
Having your Medicare card on you is important, but so is understanding how it works. Read on to learn more about the different types of cards you may have for your Medicare coverage and what each is for.
If you’re already drawing from Social Security, you should receive your Medicare card a few months before you turn 65. If you aren’t already drawing from Social Security, you’ll need to sign up for Medicare. Once you do, you’ll receive your Medicare red, white, and blue card in the mail a few weeks later.
You may be able to access your Medicare card before you receive it in the mail. To check, log into your Medicare account. From here, you can print your card.
Your red, white, and blue Medicare card is your primary insurance card if you’re on Original Medicare. If you enroll in additional Medicare coverage via a Medigap plan, prescription drug plan, or Medicare Advantage plan, you may receive additional insurance cards. Understanding what each is for and which you should use when you visit your doctor or pharmacist is important to ensure you receive proper coverage and pay the right amount.
Many people on Original Medicare choose to add a Medigap (Medicare Supplement) plan to their coverage to help cover the 20% of costs that Original Medicare doesn’t cover. If you enroll in a Medigap plan, you’ll receive a Medigap insurance card from your carrier. Bring both this and your Original Medicare card with you when you visit the doctor to ensure your coverage is honored and you pay the right amount.
Original Medicare doesn’t cover prescription drugs. As such, many Medicare recipients choose to enroll in a separate prescription drug (Part D) plan. If you do, you’ll receive an insurance card from your prescription plan’s carrier. We recommend bringing both this card and your Medicare card to the pharmacy with you. Always be sure your pharmacist has your latest prescription drug plan information to ensure you get the best price for your prescriptions!
If you choose to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll receive an insurance card from your carrier. You’ll use this card at the doctor’s office instead of your Medicare red, white, and blue card. If your Medicare Advantage plan also comes with prescription drug coverage (as many do), you’ll also use this card at the pharmacy.
Some Medicare Advantage plans offer flex spending cards for seniors as an added benefit. These flex cards have money on them and can be used to pay for medical expenses, like copayments, and over-the-counter medications and supplies. Not every Medicare Advantage plan comes with a flex card. Plans that do offer flex cards will have different rules for using them. If you have a flex card and aren’t sure how to use it, we’re here to help! Just give us a call at (855) 900-2427 and we’ll help you use this valuable benefit.
If you have Original Medicare, you should carry your Medicare red, white, and blue card with you when you leave the house. If you also have a prescription drug plan and/or a Medigap plan, you should bring those cards as well.
If you’ve enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you should bring that card with you when you leave the house. If you also have a stand alone prescription drug plan, you should bring that card with you as well.
Technically, it’s not illegal to laminate your Medicare card, but it’s not recommended. Some doctors use card scanners that work best with paper. Some Medicare beneficiaries choose to protect their Medicare cards with plastic sleeves.
If you do happen to lose your Medicare card, it’s fairly easy to get a replacement. Log into your Medicare account, where you can print a new card or order an official copy of your card.
If you need help understanding what different types of Medicare cards are for and how you should use them, we’re here to help! Our Medicare Advocates can help you understand your current coverage and how to navigate the healthcare system to ensure you’re always paying the right price. Give us a call at (855) 900-2427 to get answers to all of your Medicare questions!