Starting in April, the Social Security Administration is mailing a new card to every person enrolled in Medicare. This enormous undertaking will help protect persons on Medicare from identity theft. The current cards show the person’s gender and Social Security number. The new cards will not show either.

The most important things to know about the new Medicare cards are:

1. Your new Medicare card is free.

2. Your new Medicare card will be mailed directly to you. If you have moved recently, contact the Social Security office that covers Dallas County at 2615 University Boulevard, Ames, IA 50010. 800-722-1213.

3. After you get your new card, shred the old one so nobody can pick it out of the trash and get your Social Security number.

It will take time for all of the cards to be mailed out. If you have not received yours by June 29, call 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227.)

Your new Medicare card will have a totally new identification number on it, made up of randomly chosen letters and numbers. Once you have allowed your clinic(s) to copy your new card, avoid carrying the new Medicare card with you on a daily basis. Keep it in a safe place.