Medicare Card

Spring Forward with a New and Improved Medicare ID Card

Medicare is turning over a safer and more secure leaf in 2018. Starting in May, members will begin receiving a new Medicare identification card that has been designed to prevent fraud and identity theft.

Instead of using your Social Security number, Medicare members will now be provided a randomly-assigned, 11-character Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI). Moving forward, your MBI can be used to access all your benefits and services—none of which are changing—and will help to better protect your personal information.

The card is free, and is being sent automatically to Medicare members in California from now until June 2019. There’s nothing you need to do, other than make sure your current mailing address is up to date.

When you receive your new card, be sure to bring it with you to your next regularly scheduled appointment, so we can add it to your medical records. You can go ahead and destroy your old card, unless you have a Medicare Advantage Plan ID. In that case, you’ll need to keep and use both cards. During this transition, you’ll be able to use your old Medicare card until January 1, 2020.

It’s important to keep in mind that Medicare will never call and ask you to share or verify your Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) or your Social Security number over the phone. If anyone calls you and asks for this information, or claims you need to pay for this new card, hang up and call (855) 613-7080.

We're here to help you through this transition. If you have any questions regarding your new Medicare card, feel free to call us at (888) 499-9303. If you’re wondering when you’ll receive your new card, click here for more information.

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Woman Getting Eye Exam

Say Cheese! Retinal Eye Exams Are a Snap

Getting a retinal eye exam is as easy as posing for a photo, and for those with diabetes, it’s priceless to visual health. Instead of capturing a Kodak moment, a picture of the back of the eyes is taken so that doctors can look for any potential damage or disease caused by diabetes. If left unchecked, vision loss and blindness may occur.

Retinal eye exams should be performed once a year for all patients ages 18 to 75 who have either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. The test is simple, painless and takes less than 15 minutes. There are no side effects and eye dilation is not typically required.

The best part is that the exam is available at six AltaMed locations:

  • Boyle Heights
  • Commerce
  • El Monte
  • Garden Grove
  • Pico Rivera, Slauson
  • Santa Ana, Bristol

Retinal exams are likely covered by your health insurance, but if they’re not, they only cost $17 at these locations. To set up an appointment or for more information, please call our Patient Contact Center at (888) 499-9303.

AltaMed Doctor taking patients blood pressure.

Take Care with Your Health Care

We’ve all heard the saying, “If you don’t use it, you lose it,” and the same sentiment can be applied to your health plan. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), an additional estimated 20 million Americans now have health coverage. It’s up to you to make sure you take advantage of everything your insurance has to offer. 

Beyond taking a closer look at the details of your specific plan, here are a few easy and basic ways to make the most of the benefits included in your health coverage. 

  • Wellness Visit: These provide an overall picture of your health and how you can make improvements by checking stats like blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index (BMI) and weight.
  • Preventive Services: Keeping you healthy is just as important to your provider as it is to you. So be sure to use any and all free services they offer, which can include immunizations, colonoscopies, diabetes checks, contraceptives, osteoporosis and anemia screenings, prenatal care and mammograms, just to name a few.
  • Education: Many plans include classes on fitness, nutrition, overall healthy living and chronic disease management. 
  • Annual Physical: Preventive exams are key to catching any serious health issues like cancer and diabetes early, before they start, or early enough to be properly treated. It’s also a great time to talk to your doctor about any health concerns you may have, and to get important shots and vaccinations. 
  • Discounts: You’d be surprised what kind of health and wellness products and services may be available through your insurance. Think discounts on gym memberships, eye exams, and chiropractic or acupuncture visits, as well as programs and support groups to help quit smoking. 
  • Nurse Advice Line: Typically available 24/7, you can save yourself and your family a trip to the emergency room or urgent care by calling these helplines , which have registered nurses on hand to answer your questions and point you in the right direction. 
  • Prescriptions: Not only is medication more affordable if your doctor prescribes you the generic version, but if your plan has a mail service pharmacy option, you’ll be able to save a trip to the pharmacy. 

Spring Forward with a New and Improved Medicare ID Card