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What's That Code on My Medicare Card?

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Numbers classify type of benefits that cardholders receive

Q: I received my Medicare card recently. It has my Social Security number, plus a "W6" after the number. What does that mean?

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The codes do not appear on Social Security cards. However, they do appear on the Medicare cards that are issued for use when seeking care at doctors' offices and hospitals. The card carries the person's Social Security number followed by his or her assigned code. The most common code is the letter "A," meaning that the applicant is a wage earner seeking normal retirement benefits.

In your case, the code "W6" indicates that you are receiving benefits as a woman who is disabled and was divorced from a spouse who is now deceased. As you

can see, the codes can convey quite specialized information.

The Social Security website lists 34 frequently used codes, including the following:

  • 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.

A full list of the 34 frequently used codes can be found on the Social Security website .

Stan Hinden. a former columnist for the Washington Post, wrote How to Retire Happy: The 12 Most Important Decisions You Must Make Before You Retire. If you don't find your answer there, send a query . Have a question for the Social Security Mailbox? Check out the archive .

Category: Insurance

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