The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has designed a new Medicare card which will begin to roll out to Medicare recipients next month. The distribution of new cards will occur in waves based on state and continue through April of 2019.
The change in design includes removing the Social Security Number (SSN) from the front as a way to prevent identity theft. Instead, the new Medicare card will use a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) to serve as a way to identify the Medicare recipient. The MBI will consist of 11 alpha-numerical characters and will be located under the beneficiary’s name. Beginning in October of this year, when a claim is submitted under an active Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN), CMS will return both the HICN along with the patient’s new MBI on every remittance advice.
All providers should be aware of the upcoming change and what they should do in preparation. In order to make sure your practice is ready, you should begin to look at your current medical billing or practice management software. If you use a vendor to bill Medicare, make sure to contact them and confirm that your systems are ready to use the new MBI.
The newly designed card can be seen below (left) compared to the older version (right).
Recipients will get a unique Medicare number printed on the card
New cards won’t include SSNs to help prevent identity theft
SSNs will no longer be used to identify Medicare recipients, however, SSNs are still in effect for IRS and tax purposes
New cards will be issued in waves based on geographical locations
You can advise your patients that the process for getting their new cards will be initiated automatically by the CMS. They should confirm that their address is correct with the Social Security Administration. For additional information regarding the new cards and all up-to-date information, click here and here to access the CMS’ website.
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