Does a Medicare Card Expire?

When you first enroll in Medicare, you’ll receive a red, white, and blue Medicare card in the mail. This card is your proof of Medicare coverage. It contains important information like your Medicare number and your coverage effective dates.

A common question many Medicare beneficiaries have is whether their Medicare card ever expires. Do you need to renew it or request a new one periodically?

The short answer is no – original Medicare cards do not expire as long as you remain enrolled in Medicare. However, there are some caveats depending on what type of Medicare coverage you have.

Original Medicare Card

If you’re enrolled in original Medicare Parts A and B, the card you receive does not need to be renewed. Your coverage automatically renews each year.

As long as you continue to pay your Medicare Part B premiums each month, your original Medicare coverage remains active indefinitely.

Your card will include your Medicare number, which is now your permanent Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) number. This replaced Social Security numbers on Medicare cards in 2019.

Your Medicare card also lists the effective dates for Part A and Part B showing when your coverage began. These dates do not indicate any expiration. They are for your reference only.

You can continue to use the same red, white, and blue card year after year. You typically only need a new one if your card is lost/stolen or damaged.

Medicare Advantage Plan Card

If you enroll in a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan rather than original Medicare, you’ll be issued a card by that plan.

The card will likely have the insurance company’s branding and contact details. It serves as proof of your membership in that specific Medicare Advantage plan.

Medicare Advantage plan cards also do not expire annually. Your plan coverage renews from one year to the next unless the plan ends their Medicare contract or you switch to another plan.

However, your plan card could become invalid if:

  • You switch to a new Medicare Advantage plan during open enrollment. You’ll receive a new card from that insurer.

  • Your plan leaves the Medicare program and stops coverage. You’ll need to select a new plan to get a new card.

  • You move out of your plan’s service area. You must choose a new plan offered where you live.

So while Medicare Advantage cards don’t expire annually, your specific card could become outdated if your coverage situation changes.

Part D Prescription Drug Plan Card

If you enroll in a standalone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, you’ll also receive a membership card from that insurer. It includes details like:

  • Your Part D plan name
  • Member ID number
  • Member services contact info
  • Pharmacy network information

Like Medicare Advantage plans, Part D plan cards renew each year automatically along with your coverage.

The same situations could lead to your card no longer being valid:

  • You voluntarily switch Part D plans during open enrollment and get a new card.

  • Your Part D plan leaves Medicare and ends coverage at the end of the year.

  • You move outside the plan’s service area and must select a new plan.

As long as you remain enrolled and pay your premiums, your Part D card remains active. The card itself does not need to be renewed annually.

Medicare Supplement Card

If you have original Medicare and also a Medigap policy, you may receive a supplemental member card from that insurer.

This functions like an ID card when getting medical services, allowing providers to bill your Medigap plan as secondary coverage.

Medigap cards also renew each year along with your policy without any action needed on your part. As long as you pay your premiums, your Medigap plan and card remain active.

When You Need a New Medicare Card

In most cases, you only need to request a new Medicare card if:

  • You lose your original red, white, and blue Medicare card. You can request a replacement from Social Security.

  • Your Medicare Advantage or Part D plan card is lost, stolen or damaged. Contact your plan for a new card.

  • Your name or other information on your card changes, such as your address. Updates can be requested.

  • You change Medicare plans during open enrollment and are issued a new plan card from that insurer.

Beyond these scenarios, you can continue using your existing card year after year without any renewal action required.

One exception was when new Medicare cards were issued to all beneficiaries from 2018 to 2019 to replace Social Security numbers with unique Medicare numbers. This was a one-time mass card replacement.

Keep Your Card Handy

While your Medicare card doesn’t need periodic renewal, it’s important to keep your card in a safe, easily accessible place. Here are some tips:

  • Carry your card with you in your wallet or purse in case of emergency or urgent care needs.

  • Make photocopies of your card (front and back) should you need to replace it.

  • Store your card securely at home as a backup if your wallet is lost or stolen.

  • Share photocopies with your primary care doctor, specialists, hospital, and any other frequent healthcare providers.

  • If your card is lost or damaged, request a new one right away to avoid claims issues.

Having your correct Medicare card easily available ensures you can access care without any hassles or delays related to your insurance coverage.

Do Medicare Plans Change Each Year?

While your Medicare card itself doesn’t need renewal, the plans you’re enrolled in can change from year to year. This is an important distinction.

Each fall during Medicare open enrollment, you’ll get an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) from Medicare Advantage and Part D plans with details of any modifications for the upcoming year.

These can include changes to:

  • Monthly premium cost
  • Deductibles, copays, and coinsurance
  • Covered services and medications
  • Provider network
  • Pharmacy network
  • Formulary tiers
  • Service area

If you’re satisfied with the upcoming plan changes, you don’t need to do anything. Your coverage will renew automatically on January 1st.

However, if you’re dissatisfied with the changes, you can use open enrollment to switch plans for the following year.

So while your actual Medicare card doesn’t expire, the plan details can change annually. Review your Notice of Change closely every fall.

The Takeaway

Your red, white, and blue original Medicare card, your Medicare Advantage plan card, and your Part D prescription plan card do not need periodic renewal.

As long as you remain enrolled in Medicare and pay required premiums, your card stays valid from one year to the next. You typically only need a new card if yours is lost, damaged, or your personal details change.

However, your Medicare plans can change each year. Review notices carefully at open enrollment to ensure your coverage still fits your needs and make changes if needed.

Keeping your Medicare card in a safe, convenient place allows you to access care smoothly. Contact Medicare or your plan provider immediately if your card is ever lost or stolen.

How to Get a Replacement Medicare Card Online (Updated)


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.

Do you have to renew your Medicare card every year?

A short answer to this question is no. If you’re enrolled in Original Medicare (Parts A and B) or a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan, your plan will renew automatically.

Does Medicare ever expire?

Unless you take action to change it during the Annual Enrollment Period, your current Medicare coverage will renew for the following year. Automatic renewal helps ensure that you will have continuing coverage.

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.

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