What's the Process for Replacing a Medicare ID Card?

A fellow caregiver asked...

What's the process for replacing a Medicare ID card?

Expert Answer

The Social Security Administration issues Medicare cards. To get a replacement card, contact the Social Security Administration -- which issues Medicare cards -- in one of several ways. To get a replacement card online, go to the Medicare replacement card page on the Social Security Administration website. Or you can phone the Social Security Administration at (800) 772-1213 and ask for a replacement card.

When you request a replacement card for yourself or someone else, you'll need the following information:

• The name exactly as it appears on the Social Security card

  • The Social Security number
  • The date of birth
  • The place of birth
  • The person's mother's maiden name
  • The person's current address and phone number

A replacement Medicare card can only be sent to the address on file with the Social Security Administration. If you file a request for someone else online, make sure that the address on the Address Verification page is that person's current address. If not, you'll also have to file a change of address form.

Whether the request is made online or by phone, it takes up to 30 days for the replacement card to arrive in the mail. If you or a family member needs proof of Medicare enrollment in fewer than 30 days, you can request -- online or by phone -- what's called an entitlement letter. This is an official letter from the Social Security Administration declaring that the person is entitled to Medicare coverage, and it includes his or her Medicare identification number. An entitlement letter usually arrives within a week or two of making a request. You can then use that letter -- at a doctor's office or with another healthcare provider -- in place of a Medicare card until the actual card arrives.

If you need immediate proof of Medicare enrollment -- for example, to use at an upcoming appointment with a new doctor -- you'll need to go to a local office of the Social Security Administration. You can find the local Social Security office by going onto the Social Security website or by calling Social Security at (800) 772-1213. The local Social Security office can give you immediate written proof to use until the replacement Medicare card arrives in the mail.