New Medicare Card

Everyone across the country should have received their new Medicare card by now. If you have not received your new Medicare card, you need to take action.

An email I received about the new Medicare card said:

Haven’t gotten your new Medicare card yet? Sign in to your secure account to see your Medicare Number and print your official card. If you don’t have a MyMedicare account yet, sign up for free at today!

Alternately, you can call 1-800-MEDICARE and our call center representatives can help you get your new card.

Note: If you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan, like an HMO or PPO, keep using your Medicare Advantage Plan ID card whenever you need care. If you have a Medicare drug plan card, keep that, too. However, you should also carry your new Medicare card — you may be asked to show it.

Do not carry your new Medicare card if you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan.

If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you show your plan id card when you see a doctor, or go to a lab for tests, or if you go to the Emergency Room.  Your Advantage plan pays the bill – not Medicare.

I have a client who carried his Medicare card with him, even though he was enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan.  He was in his 90’s and was visiting relatives in Iowa a few years ago.  He ended up in the ER.

Eric (not his real name) was in a confused state and so his relatives looked through his wallet when the hospital staff asked for his insurance information.  When his relatives came across his red, white and blue Medicare card, they gave it to the hospital staff.  They did not notice his Medicare Advantage id card.

The hospital billed Medicare.  And Medicare rejected the bill.  That’s because Eric’s Medicare record says that the Medicare Advantage plan pays his bills – not Medicare.

All the billing is done through computers and the hospital got a rejection from Medicare for Eric’s $8,000 bill.

The hospital then sent the bill to Eric’s home address in Tucson, AZ where his daughter was shocked to see the cost of the ER visit.  She called me asking why she got this bill.

Since all medical billing is done with computers, Eric’s daughter had quite a time getting the paper bill paid.  I think it took a couple of months because she kept sending it to the Advantage plan and they kept saying they never received it.

Eric’s daughter, who was taking care of both her elderly parents, was really stressed out by the bill-paying ordeal.  So, I use this example when telling my Medicare Advantage clients about why they should not carry their Medicare card.

I have talked to clients who received their new Medicare card and thought they were told in the cover letter that they should carry the card.   It seems like Medicare does not realize that, in places like Tucson, almost half of all Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans – and they should not carry their Medicare card!

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