What to Know About Your Medicare Card

You’re a card-carrying Medicare member

Just what you need – another card to add to all the other ones in your wallet: another membership card! Whether you are a long-time card-carrying Medicare member or this is your first year, you will need to guard this card as carefully as your credit or debit cards. It’s the equivalent of a platinum card.

If you are a new member, here is a list of what to check for and expect on your card, whether it is traditional Medicare, Medicaid, Medicare Advantage, or Medigap. If you are already a member, you will have received your new card and this will serve as a reminder of what your service providers will be looking for.

Medicare ID – Traditional Medicare

The card has three stripes – red, white, and blue – at the top and the logo of the Department of Health & Human Services on the front.

It shows your name, gender, Medicare ID number (important), and your coverage: Part A and/or Part B. It also shows the date your coverage begins. As all the cards do, there are customer service contact numbers.


Since Medicaid is run by each state, the cards from different states will have a different design or color. This card will show your name, gender, Medicaid ID number, and the name of the state that has issued the policy. It may or may not say “Medicaid.” Some states name their own programs, such as MediCal in California.

If you’re also enrolled in either traditional Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan, you will show these cards at the office of your service provider, as well.

Medicare Advantage

While this has your name and membership ID as the other cards do, it also has the particular plan’s name as well as the type of plan you have selected: HMOPPO, PFFS, etc. You will not use your traditional Medicare card with this service.

If your Medicare Advantage plan includes drug coverage, you will either be instructed to use this card or you will be provided with a separate card to use at your pharmacy.

Part D Prescription Card – for Standalone Programs

This card should be used when ordering or picking up approved medications at your pharmacy. It shows your name, membership ID, the plan’s name, and ID number. It may say PDP, which stands for prescription drug plan.

Medigap – Supplemental Insurance Card

This card will inform your service provider that you have coverage of certain co-pays. It includes your name, your Medigap ID, the name of the insurance company that has issued the plan, and the type of policy you have selected (indicated by letter).

If you lose your card or if it has become unreadable, you can get it replaced by the issuing organization. (Social Security for traditional Medicare; your state for Medicaid; the insurance company for Medicare Advantage, Medigap, or a standalone Part D.)

As always, check out my videos on all sorts of topics in our Resource Center.

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