New Medicare Cards in 2018

The first thing people notice when they open the white envelope containing their new Medicare Card is this:

“My Medicare number is the same as my Social Security number.”

When Medicare started in 1965, it made sense to use numbers already assigned to people in the government system. We now can see how the government numbering system created opportunities for fraud and identity theft.

In an attempt to correct the problem, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will mail new Medicare Cards to every Medicare beneficiary starting April 2018 and ending April 2019. The transition period from the old to the new numbers ends on December 31, 2019.

The new cards have an 11-digit Medicare number. The numbers are random-generated combinations of numbers and uppercase letters.

Medicare will send your new card automatically to the mailing address they have on file for you. You can check or change your mailing address by going online to or calling Social Security 1-800-772-1213.

Remember: Scammers will take advantage of the transition.

Social Security and Medicare will never, ever call you or email you and ask you to verify your number, address, or any other information.

If you receive a call or email asking for your information, hang up or delete!

If you receive a letter in the mail you’re not sure about, call Social Security 1-800-772-1213 and check it out before you respond.

Plan F vs Plan G

The standardized Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plan F and Plan G are exactly alike except for one thing. Plan F pays the Medicare Part B Deductible. Plan G does not.

The Medicare Part B Deductible is a fixed, annual amount that Medicare sets every year. The Part B Deductible can (and usually does) change each year.

The decision to enroll in either Plan F or Plan G is a personal choice. Some people value having no deductible. Other people value saving money on premium.

Both Plan F and Plan G offer a way for you to budget for medical expenses with no surprises in exchange for a monthly insurance premium.

Medicare Supplement insurance companies adjust the premium at least annually to compensate for Medicare’s annual change in deductibles and other cost factors. In fact, you can count on receiving an annual rate increase no matter what Medicare Supplement plan you choose. There’s no getting around it.

Generally, if the difference between the annual premium for Plan F and the annual premium for Plan G is greater than the Part B Deductible, you save money by buying Plan G.

Here’s an example for a 76 year old male who does not use tobacco:

Plan F annual premium  $2,332.92

Plan G annual premium $1,925.64

The difference is $407.28

Subtract the 2015 Part B Deductible from $407.28 – $147.00 = $260.28.

In my way of thinking, in Plan F this man would be paying an insurance company $260.28 to write a $147.00 check that he could write himself.

But it’s a personal choice. To some people, the service is worth paying for. To others, it isn’t.

Plan F vs Plan G? You decide.