For Consumers

What should I expect after I sign up?

When will my coverage start?

If you sign up for Medicare Part A (Hospital insurance) and/or Medicare Part B (Medical insurance) during the first three months of your Initial Enrollment Period, your coverage starts the first day of your birthday month, unless your birthday is on the first day of the month. Then your coverage would start the first day of the month before your birthday month.

If you sign up for Part A/ B in this month:Your coverage starts:

The month you turn 65

1 month after you sign up

1 month after you turn 65

2 months after you sign up

2 months after you turn 65

3 months after you sign up

3 months after you turn 65

3 months after you sign up

During the Jan. 1–Mar. 31 General Enrollment Period

July 1


When will I get my card?

Once you sign up for Medicare, Social Security will mail you a Medicare card that looks like this:

Sample Medicare Card

Your Medicare number is usually the same as or very similar to your Social Security number. Be sure to keep your card and number safe. Do not share them with anyone except your medical providers.

If you sign up for Part C (Medicare Advantage), Part D (prescription drug) or a Medigap plan, or have Medicaid, these plans will mail you a separate membership card. Keep these cards safe and bring them with your Medicare card to the medical provider or the pharmacy. You will need to let your providers know which plans you have.

NOTE:  A new federal law requires Medicare to remove all Social Security Numbers (SSNs) from all Medicare ID cards by December 2019. This currently is your Medicare Claim Number that appears on your Medicare card. Between April 2018 and April 2019, Medicare will mail out new Medicare cards to beneficiaries. The new cards will have a new Medicare number that's unique to you, instead of your SSN. This will help protect your identity. The new card won't change your coverage or benefits, and you don't need to take any action to get your new card.

What if I lose my Medicare card?

If you lose your Medicare card, you can ask for a new one from Social Security:

Social Security will mail you a new card in about 30 days. If you need proof before your card arrives, ask Social Security to provide you with proof you can use until you get your replacement card.

How do I change my name or address for my Medicare card?

Medicare uses the name and address you have on file with Social Security. To change your name and/or address, go to my Social Security account (