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What is a Medicare Card?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 25 August 2018
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The Medicare card can mean different things depending upon where people live. In Australia, most people carry a Medicare card, which has a number and is used with certain doctors who are providers under the Australian health system. The cards have to be used with doctors who have Medicare provider numbers, so they wouldn’t be used in every instance. Alternately, in the US, those eligible for Medicare benefits carry one of these cards.

Most of the people in the United States qualify for Medicare due to age. Some people may qualify because of permanent disability. Usually cards get sent to people two to three months before they can actually use them, and this is to help people get prepared to work with the Medicare system, which can be confusing at first.

There are few things most people will notice on their cards. First the Medicare card will have a person’s name on it. People who notice errors or misspellings in their name should contact the social security office to have a correct card issued. Other relevant features on the card include types of Medicare eligibility, which are usually defined as Part A or Part B. These are major medical and hospitalization. Those looking at the card can determine coverage, and the card will also have a number on it, much like a health insurance card.

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This would all seem very simple, were it not for the fact that lots of other Medicare medical coverage options exist. For instance, with Medicare Part D, people may chose to enroll in optional coverage that may reduce some prescription drug costs. They will have a separate card for this, which can be presented at the pharmacy when prescription drug orders are filled.

Yet another option in Medicare is purchasing Medicare Advantage, which is sometimes called Part C. This may reduce some costs associated with using Medicare, by joining a health insurance company. In these cases, belonging to a Part C plan would probably mean using that insurance company’s card, instead of the Medicare card.

It’s still a good idea to hold onto any Medicare card carefully. These sometimes get stolen and are used to commit fraud. Don’t forget that if people illegally use a card, the person whose name is on it may get charged for the rest of the money owed. If a card gets lost or stolen, people should report this to the Social Security Administration, or they can go online to theUS Health and Human Services website to report a missing card and to request a new one.

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