Are You Supposed to Get a New Medicare Card Every Year?

If you’re enrolled in Medicare, you may be wondering if you need to get issued a new Medicare card annually. After all, many types of ID and insurance cards need to be renewed regularly.

The short answer is no, you do not receive a new red, white, and blue Medicare card from the government every year. Read on to learn more about Medicare card renewal and when you can expect to get a new card.

Do Medicare Cards Expire?

Medicare cards do not have an expiration date like a driver’s license. Once you are issued a card when you enroll in Medicare, you can continue using that same card number for years to come.

Your Medicare card has your Medicare Number, which is also called your Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN). This number is unique to you and is how Medicare identifies you in their system.

As long as you remain enrolled in Medicare, your Medicare card number will stay the same. You only need to request a new card in special circumstances, which we’ll discuss more below.

When Will I Get a New Medicare Card?

In most cases, you will not receive an updated Medicare card with a new Medicare Number annually. Here are the main situations when Medicare will issue you a new card:

  • When you first enroll in Medicare – You’ll be mailed your red, white, and blue Medicare card about 3 months before you turn 65 if you signed up for Part A and Part B. If you enroll later than your initial enrollment period, it may take up to 2 months to get your new card.

  • If your card is lost or stolen – Request a replacement Medicare card from Social Security if your card is lost, stolen, or damaged. A new card with your same Medicare Number will be mailed to you.

  • If your legal name changes – Inform the Social Security Administration if you legally change your name, such as after getting married. Once reported, your Medicare card will be updated.

  • When your Medicare Number changes – On very rare occasions, Medicare may have to change your Medicare Number for identity protection. You would receive a new card if this occurs.

  • The new Medicare card rollout – Between 2018-2019, all Medicare beneficiaries received new Medicare cards with new Medicare Numbers to replace their Social Security-based numbers on the old cards. This was a one-time reissuing of cards.

As you can see, Medicare will not routinely mail you a new card annually. Your Medicare Number and card remain active year after year without any renewal action needed on your part.

Do I Need to Renew My Medicare Coverage Every Year?

Another common point of confusion is whether you need to renew or re-enroll in Medicare each year.

The answer is also no – your Medicare coverage does not expire after one year. Here are some key facts about renewing coverage under Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage:

  • Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) – Your Parts A and B benefits automatically renew annually as long as you continue to pay your Part B premiums. You do not need to re-enroll each year.

  • Medicare Advantage (Part C) – Medicare Advantage plans also renew each year automatically. The plan will send you a notice if they decide to discontinue offering the plan to all members.

  • Medicare Part D (prescription drug plans) – Part D prescription plans renew annually unless the plan is terminated by Medicare or the insurer. You’ll be notified if your plan is ending.

So Medicare enrollment is generally an automatic process—you don’t have to sign up again each year. Just make sure to keep paying any premiums you owe to maintain coverage.

When Will I Get a Notice of Change for My Plan?

Although Medicare plans renew automatically, the costs and coverage details can change each year. That’s why you’ll get an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) from your Medicare Advantage or Part D plan every September.

The ANOC outlines any changes in copays, providers, covered medications, premiums, and benefits taking effect on January 1 of the next year. Review it closely and make sure your plan still meets your needs in the upcoming year.

If you don’t receive an ANOC by the end of September, follow up with your Medicare plan provider right away. This required notice helps you understand changes before they take effect.

What Should I Do if My Plan Is Discontinued?

In rare cases, your Medicare Advantage plan or Part D plan may send you a non-renewal notice instead of an ANOC. This means they will no longer offer your current plan starting January 1.

If you get a non-renewal notice, you will have to select a new Medicare plan during open enrollment or enroll in Original Medicare. Make sure to carefully review your new options to find coverage that fits your needs.

Non-renewals are uncommon, but it’s important to open any notices from Medicare promptly so you have time to respond and avoid gaps in coverage.

When Can I Enroll or Change Plans?

Outside of your initial enrollment period when you turn 65, you can join, switch, or drop Medicare plans during designated enrollment periods. Here are some key Medicare enrollment period dates to know:

  • October 15 to December 7 – Medicare Open Enrollment Period – Switch or change plans for the upcoming year

  • January 1 to March 31 – Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment – Make one plan change

  • April 1 to June 30 – Quarterly Prescription Plan Changes – Switch prescription drug plans

  • Anytime – Special Enrollment Period – Change plans due to special circumstances

Understanding Medicare enrollment periods ensures you can make changes when needed and avoid lapses in coverage.

Why Review Plans Every Year?

While Medicare cards and coverage renew without action on your part, it’s still smart to review your Medicare plans annually. Here are some key reasons to check in on your coverage during open enrollment each fall:

  • Confirm your plans still cover all your medications. Formularies can change.

  • Make sure your preferred doctors and hospitals are still in-network. Provider networks can change.

  • Review any changes in costs like copays or coinsurance for services you use frequently.

  • Ensure the plan still offers the extra benefits and perks most valuable to you.

  • Verify premiums and deductibles haven’t increased substantially.

  • Research new plan options in your area that may better meet your needs.

Giving your Medicare plans a checkup each year ensures you have the right coverage at the right price point. Comparing plans annually can help you save money and get the best care.

If you have any doubts about your plan renewal or enrollment status, don’t hesitate to contact Medicare directly. Speaking to a representative can provide peace of mind that your coverage will continue uninterrupted.

The Bottom Line

But it’s still smart to review your health and prescription plans during open enrollment to make sure your needs are met for the upcoming year. Check any notices from Medicare closely and report any changes or discrepancies promptly to avoid gaps in care.

Do I Get A New Medicare ID Card Each Year? [Ask Andy]


Do you automatically get a new Medicare card?

We’ll send you a new card about 4 to 8 weeks before your current card expires. You don’t need to do anything. We’ll send it to the address we have for you. It’s important to tell us when you change address.

Does Medicare automatically renew each year?

Medicare Renewal Periods In most cases, Medicare re-enrollment is automatic so you only have to enroll in Medicare once. After you’re enrolled in Medicare, your coverage will continue unless you decide to make changes. Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans, Part D plans and Medigap plans all automatically renew.

Do they send you a new Medicare card every year?

While the rollout of new Medicare cards ended in 2019, scams about Medicare cards continue. You will not be getting an updated Medicare card this year, but scammers may try to convince you otherwise.

Does Medicare automatically send you a card?

Once you’re signed up for Medicare, we’ll mail you your Medicare card in your welcome packet. You can also log into (or create) your secure Medicare account to print your official Medicare card.

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