Senior Life Matters

Question: I am on Medicare, but my Medicare Card is very hard to read and worn out, how do I get a new one, or a replacement one?

Question: I am on Medicare, but my Medicare Card is very hard to read and worn out, how do I get a new one, or a replacement one?

Answer: This is a timely question, because after 1-1-2020 the Medicare Card with your Social Security number on it, will no longer be useful. So you must have a new Medicare card in your wallet.

You are eligible for Medicare and therefore need to carry your Medicare card with you.
When you approach your 65th Birthday month and you are collecting Social Security Benefits, Medicare sends you information about their products and your paper Medicare card. This card is mailed to you from CMS (Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services).

You may have had that Medicare card a long time, or maybe yours went through the wash, has gotten torn or is hard to read. Paper cards do not hold up as well in our wallets or to regular handling as a plastic card does.

You may have lost track of your Medicare card. The result is the same, you need a replacement card. The solution is easier than it has ever been.

The new updated, website and the related website provide a way to order your Medicare Card directly. This website does require you create a login and password, but once that is done, you can log on anytime, anywhere and print out or order a new Medicare card.

In the past we could only get a new Medicare card by contacting the Social Security Administration (SSA). You can still get your Medicare card that way, but using the website allows you to do that any day, anytime from anywhere.

If you decide to contact SSA, you can either call 1-800-772-1213; go to their website,; call the local office at 1-877-319-3079; or visit the local office at 321 Hazeltine Ave. Jamestown. The local office is open to the public Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri 9am to 4pm. On Wednesday SSA is open 9 to noon.

SSA also has a website, which allows you do many things related to your Social Security benefit. This website also requires you to establish a login and password. Once this account is established you can log in and use this website for many things, and ordering a new Medicare Card is just one of them.

The Login ID and password for both these websites are something you are going to want to remember (or put somewhere you can find it when you don’t remember). Once created it can used in the future for other needs you may have.

Once you have ordered/requested this new Medicare card online, it takes about 2 weeks to receive it.

Now that you have your Medicare card in hand, another question people ask is can they laminate it? The answer is Yes. If you don’t have access to a laminating machine, or don’t want to pay for that, my suggestion is to cover your Medicare card with clear packing tape, you know that wide clear tape we use to seal up boxes.

I am often asked “why is this card still paper?” My answer is “I don’t know.” I do know this: Don’t worry about that paper card and keeping it perfect. If you ever lose it or it gets torn or mutilated, you can simply order a new one.

The Medicare card needs to be in your wallet. The new cards are a smaller card, so easily fits in most spots in your wallet.

Some may tell you NOT to carry your Medicare card regularly. I recommend keeping it in your wallet, you never know when you may get sick or need medical attention. I suggest not putting your Medicare card in a spot in your wallet where it can be seen unless you pull it out because someone requested it. Many of us have spots in our wallets that can be seen over your shoulder or in line in the store. Your Medicare card should NOT be in a spot like that.

So if your card is worn out, torn, dirty or hard to read, go ahead and order a new one. If you have a Medicare card that is still has your Social Security number on it, you need the newer one. The older version will not be valid after 1-1-2020. This is an important insurance card and your providers need to be able to read and use the information on it. Once you get the new card, protect it and keep it with you, so you have it when you need it.

To contact Janell Sluga, GCMC with questions or concerns, please call 716-720-9797 or e-mail her at