How to Replace a Lost California Medi-Cal Card

by Lauren Treadwell ; Updated October 25, 2017

Medi-Cal beneficiaries must provide health care providers with a benefits identification card at the time of service as proof of coverage. If your card is damaged, stolen, or misplaced, request a new one from your county social services office as soon as possible to avoid billing issues.

Replacement Process

Call your caseworker or your local California Health and Human Services Agency office as soon as you realize your Medi-Cal card is missing. You also can visit the office in person. Once your provide your name, address, date of birth, Social Security number, and other identity-confirming information, the representative will disable the lost card and issue a new one by mail. The amount of time it takes to receive your card depends on the county, but the wait generally is less than 30 days.


  • The California Health and Human Services Agency requires beneficiaries to report all stolen benefit identification cards to the police to prevent their use for fraudulent purposes.

Deactivating the Old Card

While it may seem inconvenient, the Health and Human Services Agency must invalidate the old benefit identification card number and issue you a completely new one to avoid fraudulent claims. Once this occurs, you cannot use the old card if you happen to find it again. You must return it to the California Health and Human Services Agency.

Interim Use of Benefits

You still can use your benefits while waiting for a new Medi-Cal card. When you go in for medical care, tell the provider that you are in the process of replacing a lost card and that the old benefit identification card number no longer is active. The provider then will have to contact Medi-Cal to verify your coverage.


  • Call the provider when your new card arrives and provide the benefit identification number to expedite the billing process and avoid being charged for the service.

About the Author

Lauren Treadwell studied finance at Western Governors University and is an associate of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. Treadwell provides content to a number of prominent organizations, including Wise Bread, FindLaw and Discover Financial. As a high school student, she offered financial literacy lessons to fellow students.