How to Replace a Stolen or Lost Medicare Card

Kat Casna
Licensed Insurance Agent and Medicare Expert Writer
June 15, 2019

Your Medicare card is the key to receiving Original Medicare benefits. But what happens when you lose or damage your card? You’ll need to replace it so you can still access your benefits when you need them.

Replacing your card doesn’t have to be a hassle, but it might take time. Don’t wait until you need your card or the next Medicare Open Enrollment Period to start the process.

Replacing your red, white, and blue Medicare card

Your red, white, and blue Medicare card is your ticket to services included in Original Medicare—that is, Parts A and B.

Part A covers you while:

  • You’re in the hospital
  • Staying in a skilled nursing facility
  • Receiving home health care
  • Receiving hospice care 

Part B covers you at the:

  • Doctor’s office
  • Pharmacy
  • Laboratory
  • Medical supply store
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Luckily, you may be able to print a new card instantly by logging into your account at MyMedicare.gov. If you don’t have an account, you’ll need to create one using your Medicare number, date of birth, and other information.

If you don’t have your Medicare number handy and don’t already have a My Medicare account, you can still request a replacement card. But you’ll need to go through the Social Security Administration (SSA) or Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), depending on which one supplies your benefits. You won’t be able to print a replacement card instantly; you’ll have to wait for it to arrive by mail, which could take several weeks.

Replacing your Medicare card through the SSA

If you first applied for Medicare through the Social Security Administration, that’s who can replace your Medicare card.

The quickest way to replace your card is through the SSA website. Again, you’ll need to log in or create an account, but you don’t need your Medicare number to do so—just your Social Security number, date of birth, and name as it appears on your Social Security card.

Alternatively, you can call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 (1-800-325-0778 for TTY users), between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m, Monday through Friday. Or you can visit your nearest SSA office.

Replacing your Medicare card through the RRB

If you worked for the railroad industry and the Railroad Retirement Board provides your Medicare benefits, you must contact the RRB to replace your Medicare card.

To do so, you can visit RRB.gov or call 1-877-772-5772 (1-312-751-4701 for TTY users), between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. If there’s an RRB office near you (most states have just one or two offices), you can make your request in person.

COVID-19 warning: The Social Security Administration and Railroad Retirement Board have closed offices to the public during the pandemic. Contact the branch to ensure it’s open and safe to visit.

What to expect while waiting for your Medicare card

In most cases, you can expect your replacement Medicare card to arrive in the mail in 30 days. However, if you’ve moved and your address hasn’t been updated, you might not receive your card. Avoid delays and identity theft by double-checking that Medicare and the SSA or RRB have your current address.

If you need your card in the meantime, you can request a letter proving you’re covered, which should arrive in the mail within 10 days. If you need your card before then and printing one at MyMedicare.gov isn’t an option, you may have to go to the Social Security or Railroad Retirement office for an immediate replacement.

If you still have your old card or find it after your replacement arrives, tear up the old one so no one else can access your benefits.

Replacing your other Medicare cards

In addition to your red, white, and blue Medicare card, you may have other Medicare cards if you have the following plans:

Private insurance companies, not the government, provide these plans, so you’ll need to contact the plan provider directly for a replacement card.

Look for any past bills or other plan documents to find a website or phone number. If you can’t find the contact information of your plan provider, call 1-800-MEDICARE instead. The representatives there can point you in the right direction.

If you don’t have any of these plans but want to learn more, read our Ultimate Medicare Guide or give us a call. Adding coverage could save you money on health care.

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Medicare Card FAQ

Can I laminate my card to prevent future damage?

Yes, but we don’t recommend it. Paper cards are easier for doctors, pharmacists, and other service providers to scan and copy. Learn more about the reasons not to laminate your Medicare card and what to do instead.

How do I replace my Medicaid card?

Medicaid is a separate program from Medicare, so you won’t be able to replace this card through the Medicare program. Medicaid is a state-run program, so you’ll need to contact your state’s Medicaid department to replace your card. Learn more about the differences between Medicare and Medicaid.


Content on this site has not been reviewed or endorsed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the United States Government, any state Medicare agency, or any private insurance agency (collectively "Medicare System Providers"). Eligibility.com is a DBA of Clear Link Technologies, LLC and is not affiliated with any Medicare System Providers.

Kat Casna
Written by
Kat Casna
Kathryn is a Medicare and geriatric specialist who has appeared on Baby Boomers, OppLoans, and Best Company. Her readers don’t need a degree in government-speak to get the right coverage because Kathryn sifts through Medicare’s parts, plans, and premiums to distill only the most useful information. Her favorite place in the world is a hammock that swings peacefully between two crabapple trees somewhere in New Mexico’s Gila National Forest.
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