Originally published on thriveglobal.com
Your senior years are here, and one of the great benefits to senior-hood is the eligibility to enroll in Medicare. New seniors who have Medicare receive their Medicare cards, which they show for proof of health insurance during clinic and doctor visits. Often, when seniors new to Medicare first get their Medicare cards, they feel the need to laminate their card to prevent it from falling apart in their wallets. The big question in this scenario is: Am I legally allowed to laminate a Medicare card so it will last longer?
Matthew Bussard is the “go-to guy” in Rhode Island for Medicare users seeking a financial service broker. His goal as a professional is to make a difference in all of his clients’ lives, so he also volunteers at Oak Street Health Clinics to help seniors enroll in Medicare. Bussard often gets the question of whether or not it is legal or advised for Medicare seniors to laminate their federal health insurance card. Below, he goes into more detail about the matter.
Can You Laminate Your Medicare Card?
Keeping your Medicare card in good condition is essential, which is why many people consider laminating it. The paper the ID is printed on is thick and white and can become dog-eared overtime after frequent use and repeatedly putting it inside your wallet.
It is not illegal to laminate your Medicare card, but it is also not recommended. The Social Security Administration suggests steering clear from laminating vital identification cards due to the card’s security features being obstructed by the plastic laminate coating. Rather than laminating your Medicare card, consider visiting a local stationery store to purchase a plastic ID cardholder to use as protection for your card. A plastic ID sleeve is not only inexpensive, but it is also an easy solution to keep your card clean and visible.
Another solution to maintaining a damage-free Medicare ID is to carry a photocopy of your Medicare card rather than the original. Like Social Security cards, you can store your Medicare ID in a safe place, such as a secure lockbox, and continue making print copies of the card as you need them to show to health care providers.
What Should You Do If Your Medicare Card is Lost or Damaged?
You have to have your Medicare card present to receive services, so it is critical to have a safe place for it. However, life happens, and Medicare cards get lost, stolen, or damaged. When that happens, there’s no need to fret. The process of retrieving a new card is simple, and there are several ways to go about it. If you have a ‘my Social Security’ account online, you can log in to get a replacement card. For those without this type of account, you can create one or visit your local Social Security office.
Another option to replace a Medicare card is to call the United States Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY users call 1-800-325-0778), Monday – Friday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
About Matthew Bussard Matthew Bussard is a financial services broker offering support to Medicare users in Rhode Island. He is passionate about creating a difference in his clients’ lives by helping them enroll in Medicare with professionalism and care. Mr. Bussard volunteers with Medicare recipients at Oak Street Health Clinics, providing efficient, continual guidance to clients every step of the way. Matthew also participates in various charitable activities, including The Hunger Project, the MDRT Foundation, local clean-ups, and little league coaching. He donates to local charities and makes a difference in his community in every way possible.