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- Don’t wait to replace your health insurance card if it has been lost or stolen
- A lost health insurance card may put you at risk of medical identity theft
- You could lose access or have your medical care limited without your health insurance card
- Your health insurance card provides important protection if you have a medical emergency or accident while you are away from home
If you’ve misplaced, damaged or lost your health insurance card, you have several different options to get a replacement.
Replacement options vary between healthcare insurance providers, including whether or not you got your policy through healthcare.gov, are receiving Medicare or Medicaid, or received your policy through your employer or a private insurance agency.
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Reasons to Replace Your Health Insurance Card
Your healthcare provider knows who you are, and some providers will be able to look your insurance coverage and enrollment up based on your regular ID, such as a drivers’ license, and date of birth. If you’ve lost or damaged your insurance card, or suspect someone has stolen it, there are several reasons for you to get a new one.
– Emergency Care and Unexpected Needs
You may be able to see your physician with no trouble if you’ve lost your insurance card. If you are traveling or experience an accident, you won’t be able to speak to your familiar physician’s office. Your medical insurance card will help you to get the care you need if you need emergency care away from home.
– Medical Identity Theft
The Federal Trade Commission reports that medical identity theft is one of the fastest-growing forms of ID theft. Thieves may steal medical identities to see a doctor, file a claim for reimbursement with your insurance provider, or get prescription drugs.
– Risks of Medical ID Theft
You probably won’t be billed for medical treatment that an ID thief could receive using your health insurance card. The ID thief might cause your medical records to become confused, or they could cause you to receive debt collection calls for bills you don’t owe.
You can report suspected medical identity theft at IdentityTheft.gov. The site will guide you through necessary steps to correct your medical records.
– Other Reasons to Get a Replacement Health Insurance Card
You could run the risk of your health records being confused with someone else if your health insurance card is lost or stolen. Your health provider could also delay care or limit services until you get a new card.
Getting a New Card Through the Healthcare Marketplace
Log on to your account, click on your name, and choose “Applications and Coverage” from the menu. If you do not see your insurance company or aren’t sure if you completed enrollment, call your insurance company directly.
Getting a Replacement Medicare Card
Medicare cards provide proof of Medicare insurance. If you have lost or damaged your Medicare card, or someone has stolen it, the Social Security Administration advises you to use your online “My Social Security Account” to request a new card.
If you do not have an online account, you can call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) or visit your local Social Security office.
Medicaid or Other State Insurance Programs
If you receive Medicaid or other health insurance benefits through your state or county, you will have a Benefits Identification Card (BIC).
If you need a new BIC, the process is similar to requesting a new Medicare card.
Each state maintains a portal for health insurance and benefits. If you can’t access the portal, call your local benefits office, or visit in person.
PPO, HMO or POS Health Plan Insurance Cards
If you’ve lost or damaged your health insurance card for a PPO, HMO or POS health insurance plan, ease of replacement is an important concern. If you’re comparing plans, administrative procedures might not be the first thing to come to mind, but plans that allow easy card replacement are desirable.
Some insurance companies may allow you to view a picture of your card via your mobile phone or computer.
– Online Card Replacement
Many, if not all, health insurance providers allow you to access medical documents online. Ideally, you should be able to request a new insurance card online at the same time as you access appointments, prescriptions, and your health history.
– Telephone Card Replacement
Nearly all insurance providers have some way for members to call and request services, including replacement cards.
– Replacement in Writing or by Fax
Some insurance companies will request that you ask for a replacement card in writing. You may also ask for a new card via fax.
Disaster and Emergency Rules
The federal government and many insurance companies have different rules and policies in case of a disaster or emergency. If you receive Medicare, including a Medicare Advantage plan or other related Medicare health plan, you will be authorized to see any provider that is offering services in case of an emergency or disaster. Rules are relaxed during these circumstances.
Out-of-network provider charges can be reimbursed if necessary during emergencies, according to medicare.gov.
Waiting Periods and Alternatives
Some medical insurance cards, including Medicare, can take up to 30 days to be received. If you need care in the meantime, you may request a letter of coverage that can serve as temporary proof that you have medical insurance.
Consider how long it will take you to get a new card when you compare insurance companies and policies.
– Online and Mobile Services
Not every health insurance provider offers fully-online services, but many do. Some of the most convenient options for insurance card replacement are online services that allow you to view or print a new card at any time. Even if the card you keep in your wallet has been lost or stolen, these services give you the option of having a new card immediately.
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