New Medicare Card Mailing Waves

New Medicare Cards Will Protect 60 Million Americans from Identity Theft

Attention, if you are enrolled in Medicare then you can expect a new Medicare card in the mail soon. In fact, over 60 million Medicare cards are being sent out as a result of the new Medicare number change.

The new cards will be placed in the mail by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) beginning in April, but outreach for this campaign has already started to ensure a smooth transition for everyone involved. As a Medicare-dependent, you do not have to worry, about this change. Everything is being taken care of for you.

The Most Important New Medicare Card Information

Why is My Card Changing?

Your Medicare card number is changing as a result of Congressional legislation passed in 2015 requiring CMS to remove all participants’ Social Security Numbers (SSN). This is to help prevent Medicare fraud and financial identity theft by not making this information readily available on Medicare cards that could be lost or stolen.

Basically, your current SSN-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) will be replaced by a new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI). Your MBI will be used for Medicare transactions such as billing, eligibility status, and claim status.

What Will My MBI Look Like?

Your MBI will be a randomly generated 11 character alphanumeric number, meaning it will contain both letters and numbers. This is to make sure it’s completely different from your SNN. However, it will still fit in all HICN fields as both numbers are the same length.

New MBI format


The new Medicare card format is actually designed to cut down on confusion, which is why your MBI will not include the letters S, L, O, I, B, or Z, as they can easy to be confused with numbers 5, 1, 0, 1, 8, and 2.

What NOT to Do

Do not give out any of your Medicare insurance information out over the phone, via text, or email. Your new card is being sent to you. If anyone contacts you for your information then it is a scam. No one from Medicare will ask an older adult to give personal or private information to get their Medicare number and card.

You can quickly and easily report a suspected Medicare fraud case here.

What to Do

You do not have to do anything for your new Medicare card. Simply wait for your card to arrive in the mail. Be sure to begin carrying it with you as soon as it arrives so your doctor and other health care providers can begin using it. If you need to make a change (like updating your address), contact Medicare at or by calling 800-633-4227. 

Once you get your card, guard your card. Treat your new Medicare card like a credit card. Only share your Medicare number and card with people that you trust and should have it.

When Will You Get Your New Medicare Card?

New Medicare cards 2018 will be mailed out on a staggered scheduled in seven waves based on geographical regions. The first mailing group for April and June includes Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

The second wave includes the Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and U.S. territories. The other five groups will be mailed out in June. If you do not have your new card, don’t worry. The transition period lasts from April 2018 until December 2019, so you don’t need your MIB until then.

You can use your old card until then but should start using your new one as soon as you receive it, as businesses are required to accept your new Medicare number on April 1, 2018.

New Medicare Card Mailing Schedule

Wave States Cards Mailing
1 Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia Finished Mailing
2 Alaska, American Samoa, California, Guam, Hawaii, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon Finished Mailing
3 Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin Mailing Now
4 Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont Mailing After July 2018
5 Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina Mailing After July 2018
6 Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wyoming Mailing After July 2018
7 Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, the Virgin Islands Mailing After July 2018

Medicare Mailing Waves by States

New Medicare Card Mailing Waves

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