New Medicare Cards in 2018

Excerpt from 2018 Health Care Choices for Minnesotans on Medicare

Medicare will be issuing new Medicare cards next year. The new cards will have a new Medicare number that is unique to you, instead of using your Social Security number. This change will help to prevent fraud, fight identity theft and protect private information.

  • Those on Medicare will automatically receive a new card mailed to the address that Social Security has on file. Contact Social Security if you need to verify your address.
  • People will start receiving new Medicare cards in April 2018.
  • All Medicare cards will be replaced by April 2019.
  • New Medicare cards will be issued with a new unique, randomly-assigned number called a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI).
  • The MBI will replace the existing Social Security-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) both on the cards and in various government and health care systems.
  • Railroad Retirement Board retirees will also receive new cards.
  • Healthcare providers will be able to look up the new MBI through a secure tool at the point of service.
    • There will be a 21-month transition period where all healthcare providers will be able to use either number for billing purposes.

Call the Senior LinkAge Line® at 1-800-333-2433 if you have questions about the new Medicare cards or for free help with other Medicare-related issues.

The Senior LinkAge Line® is a free statewide service of the Minnesota Board on Aging and Area Agencies on Aging. The Senior LinkAge Line® is the federally-designated State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) for Minnesota and is the place to call for Medicare and health insurance issues. Call 1-800-333-2433 for assistance or go to® to chat live with a Senior LinkAge Line® specialist.

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2017 MNRAAA Annual Report – Board Chair’s and Executive Director Letter

Dear Readers:
Welcome to the 2017 Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging® Annual Report. Bob and I hope you will enjoy reading a few of MNRAAA’s highlights from last year.
Beginning in May, board members and staff participated in strategic planning, facilitated by Aurora Consulting. During the planning process, we revised our mission statement, developed a vision
statement and determined our strategic directions for the next three years (read more about Strategic Planning here).
Due to the expansion of the Return to Community initiative, we hired several additional staff and outgrew our space in the Mankato office. Fortunately, we could move our conference room to a space across from our office and use the vacated space for staff.
We said good-bye to three of our board members: Amy Wilde, Jane Baldwin and Dr. Tim Bachenberg. Their insight and dedication to improving the lives of older adults and caregivers will
be missed.
Even though we know we’ll encounter challenges during 2018, we look forward to continuing our efforts to provide advocacy, information, resources, and assistance so that older adults can maintain the lifestyle of their choice.
Keep reading if you’d like to learn about additional 2017 highlights. And, if you haven’t joined us on social media or signed up to receive our newsletter, we invite you to go to page three for our contact information.
Linda Giersdorf, Executive Director
Robert Roesler, Board Chair
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MNRAAA Participates in Dementia Friends

Minnesota has a new tag line. As of the end of 2017, Minnesota is now the Land of 10,225 Dementia Friends. MNRAAA is proud to be a part of this accomplishment by recording a total of 1,291 Dementia Friends, 944 of which were trained in 2017.

Dementia Friends is a global movement that is changing the way people think, act, and talk about dementia. By helping everyone in a community understand what dementia is and how it affects people, each of us can make a difference for people touched by dementia.

To become a Dementia Friend, you participate in a one-hour information session presented by a Dementia Friends Champion. You will learn five key messages about dementia and a bit about what it’s like to live with dementia. As a Dementia Friend, you turn your new understanding of dementia into a practical action that can help people living in your community. Your action can be big or small – because every action counts!
To find a Dementia Friends Information Session in your community visit

MNRAAA, the Land of 1,291 Dementia Friends! How high can we go in 2018?

Read a PDF of 2017 MNRAAA Annual Report.

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Return to Community Program Expands to Help Seniors Move Home

The Senior LinkAge Line® Return to Community initiative has helped more than 5,000 people move from a nursing facility back into the community. Senior LinkAge Line® community living specialists work closely with the resident, their families and nursing facility staff to help with discharge and make sure supports are in place for the return home. Return to Community is expanding beyond nursing homes to help even more seniors in 2018. They include:

  • People within a certain socioeconomic set who have discharged from a hospital
  • Those whose doctor has ordered them to stay more than 90 days in a nursing home
  • Individuals in a nursing home on a respite stay
  • Those who have decided not to move to an assisted living facility after discussing their options with the Senior LinkAge Line®
  • People who have reached the end of Medicare-certified home care.

This past fall, MNRAAA held local community provider meetings in Mankato, Willmar, Montevideo, Marshall and Hutchinson to share information about the Return to Community expansion and how it will benefit area residents. These meetings were well received. Organizations interested in learning more about this expansion can contact the Senior LinkAge Line®® to request a presentation or meeting with a staff person serving their area.

The Senior LinkAge Line® is a free statewide service of the Minnesota Board on Aging and Area Agencies on Aging. Specialists provide one-to-one assistance with helping older adults age well and live well. The Senior LinkAge Line® is Minnesota’s federally-designated State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) and is the place to call for help with Medicare and health insurance. For more information, call 1-800-333-2433 or go to® to chat live with a Senior LinkAge Line® specialist during business hours.

Read a PDF of 2017 MNRAAA Annual Report.

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