How to Get a Temporary Medicaid Card

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You've been approved for Medicaid, but no card has arrived. Alternatively, your Medicaid card could have been lost, damaged or stolen. This can be quite upsetting, especially if you need to see a doctor as soon as possible. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) explains that there are ways for beneficiaries to order Medicaid cards, and it is not a complicated process.

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I Was Approved for Medicaid but Got No Card

One way to inquire about a missing Medicaid card is to contact your state Medicaid office. Medicaid.gov lists all the state offices on their website. If this seems too confusing (these pages have long lists of information), simply enter your state and the words "Medicaid office" into your browser's search bar. Some state Medicaid offices are simple to navigate, so you can easily find out how to ask about a missing Medicaid card. If you find that your card has been approved but have not received it, you may be able to print out a temporary one.

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States have Medicaid organizations that administer their Medicaid programs – these are called Managed Care Organizations, or MCOs. The Michigan government website explains that MCOs provide most Medicaid benefits to recipients, in return for monthly payments from the states. In most cases, patient insurance cards will list the name of the health plan they have through the MCO. For example, the California Department of Health Care Services website explains that their state Medicaid program is called Medi-Cal. There is a Medi-Cal Member and Provider Helpline that can help applicants who have not received cards after being approved and provide assistance with lost and stolen cards.

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You may also be able to print out your Medicaid card after creating an account with your state Medicaid office. The Texas Health and Human Services website directs beneficiaries to call 1-800-252-8263 when cards are lost are stolen. Then, they can go to YourTexasBenefits.com and log into their accounts. Next, they click on a few other links until they arrive at the cards tab, and temporary cards can be printed out from here.

How Are Medicaid Cards Used?

Medicaid cards resemble other kinds of insurance cards and are used in the same kinds of ways. Members present the cards to the receptionist when they check into medical facilities or when ordering and picking up prescriptions. The card information is also required when making an initial appointment with a new provider. The cards are scanned in to apply the benefits, and any co-pays or cost-sharing must be paid either upfront or are billed later.

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Medicaid cards have serial numbers which are usually used for billing purposes. They also have identifying information, like the cardholder's name. If the state Medicaid program uses a third-party insurance company, the card will look a bit different but will be used in the same way.

Card Security and Redundancy

It is always wise to make photocopies of these cards and to keep them in safe locations. This way, you have the information on hand in case your card is lost or stolen.

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You will still want to order a replacement card, but the photocopy can come in handy until a new one is obtained. Some people take pictures of their cards and store them on their phones and computers. This makes the cards susceptible to theft though, and Medicaid (and Medicare) fraud runs rampant in this country.

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