UNDERSTANDING MEDICARE CARD CODESJan 17th, 2013 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Social Security & Medicare
Those Weird Numbers on Your Medicare Card
When seniors apply for their Medicare card, it is sent to them with their Social Security number as the identifier, plus a code. Most of us have an ‘A’ after our SSN. Like this: xxx-xx-xxxxA. But some people have strange numbers and we were recently asked about it. This is what we found.
There are 34 codes that are used frequently for various kinds of Medicare recipients (e.g., wife of disabled claimant, aged wife or husband over 62, divorced wife 62+, widowed mother, and so on). The codes can be found here. Some examples include
- B2 — a young wife with a child in her care.
- D1 — widower, aged 60 and over.
- F6 — an adopting mother.
- HB — wife of a disabled claimant, age 62 or over.
Medicare cards are used for medical purposes, at doctor’s offices and hospitals and medical facilities. The codes identify how a beneficiary qualifies for Medicare. For example, a widower 60+ qualifies because her/his deceased spouse received Medicare benefits, and the widower gets those benefits upon the death of the spouse.
Medicare cards are important because they have to be shown to reception desk personnel when one enters a medical facility of any kind. The code is less important to medical personnel, but is very important to the beneficiary, because it defines how qualification for benefits is determined.
So keep the card in a safe place. In fact, seniors are now advised to make a copy of the card to carry with you, blacking-out all of the numbers except the last four. It’s an identity-theft protection measure. Just be sure your original card is kept in a safe place.