The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is removing Social Security numbers from Medicare cards to combat identity theft, prevent fraud, and protect private information.
New Medicare cards will include a randomly generated Medicare beneficiary identifier (MBI) instead of the health insurance claim number (HICN), which is based on patients’ Social Security numbers.
CMS will begin issuing new cards in April 2018, and all cards will be replaced by April 2019. All providers must accept the new MBI format by April 2018, but providers will be able to use either the MBI or HICN for billing through December 2019. There will be no changes in benefits for Medicare patients during this process.
To prepare for the rollout of the new cards, CMS urges providers to:
- sign up for the weekly Medicare Learning Network Connects newsletter;
- participate in quarterly Open Door Forums for updates on the program;
- verify Medicare patients’ addresses and ask patients to contact Social Security to update their records if necessary;
- educate patients about the new cards; and
- work with billing office staff to ensure the office can accept the new MBI format.
CMS in September will publish a Medicare & You Handbook to educate beneficiaries about the new cards.
Contact Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.