From April 2018 to April 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will mail new Medicare cards to all active Medicare beneficiaries.
The New Medicare Card—formerly known as the Social Security Number Removal Initiative (SSNRI)—is occurring to implement a provision in the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) requiring the removal of Social Security numbers from Medicare cards due to concerns about identity theft.
Action Must Be Taken Now to Avoid Disruption
The new cards have a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) instead of the Social Security Number-based identifier known as the Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN).
Like HICNs, MBIs will be 11 characters in length and occupy the same field in Medicare transactions. However MBIs will be clearly distinguishable from HICNs and composed of only numbers and uppercase letters (no special characters).
The transition from HICNs to MBIs will significantly impact physician practices’ workflows.
Practices must be prepared to use MBIs starting April 1, 2018, as patients new to the Medicare program beginning in April 2018 will only have cards with MBIs.
From April 1, 2018 to Dec. 31, 2019, CMS will accept both HICNs and MBIs on Medicare transactions (including eligibility requests and claims) for beneficiaries in the Medicare program prior to April 1, 2018 (i.e., those who received a HICN).
Beginning in Jan. 2020, physicians may only use MBIs. (Exceptions may include appeals and retrospective adjustments.)