There is a significant change to the new Medicare cards, which is effective immediately.

For security purposes and identity protection, Medicare has removed Social Security numbers from all Medicare cards.

According to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), all Medicare recipients were issued new Medicare cards by the summer of 2019.

Effective Jan. 1, 2020, all old Medicare cards are no longer valid, and will no longer be accepted at any hospital or doctor’s office.

The new card won’t change one’s coverage or benefits.

“It is imperative that everyone use their new Medicare card when receiving medical services, or they are at risk of being billed for services provided,” said Ali Ramsteck, director of Darien Human Services.

According to Darien resident Peter F. Eder, who serves on the town’s Commission on Aging, a number of seniors have been confused about the “new” and “old” card.

“They have found service providers [such as] hospitals, health facilities, and drug stores, have become increasingly inflexible in refusing the old cards and demanding the new cards, or denying payment,” Eder said. “It is not an either/or situation and identification is being refused on ‘old’ card submissions.”

At a recent Commission on Aging meeting, this topic was addressed. The commission has issued the following statement directed to all Medicare members:

In an effort to prevent fraud, the U.S. government has issued new Medicare cards which no longer contain Social Security numbers.

People will no longer be able to use their old Medicare cards. Therefore, it’s critical that only the new Medicare cards be given to health care providers. These include physicians, hospitals and even pharmacies such as Grieb’s, Walgreens and CVS. If you need help with your Medicare card, please contact Darien Social Services at 203-656-7328.

“We heard a few stories in the last month about people going to the pharmacy or doctor’s office and presenting their old medicare card,” said Eder, adding the new and old cards strongly resemble each other.

“People were told they don’t accept that anymore. ‘We need your new card,’” he said.

“It caught people short. A couple of people might have tried to fight it or paid the full price of their medical services,” Eder added.

When receiving any kind of medical service or even going to CVS for a flu shot, “you need to have your new Medicare card to prove your identity,” he said.

As soon as Eder and his wife Kathy received their new cards in the mail last May, they went to Staples and got them laminated.

“A lot of older people may still be carrying the old one,” Eder said. “It won’t be honored.”

Commission members are concerned that the new card can get mixed up with all the other mail that seniors typically get, so they want to make the public aware of this.

For more information on the new Medicare card, visit For a replacement card, call 1-800-633-4227.