Beginning in April 2018, CMS will start to mail its new cards to Medicare participants that eliminates the use of the Social Security number. As part of the change, all of Medicare’s systems and process will be able to accept the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) although there will be a 21-month transition period when the HICN (Health Insurance Claim Number) or the MBI can be used for billing purposes.
The elimination of the Social Security number is an effort to combat fraud and identity theft.
The new MBI will be a combination of numbers and uppercase letters totaling 11 characters. All Medicare cards will be replaced by April 2019.
The American Medical Association has arranged for a CMS briefing on the new Medicare card on February 21 from 3-4pm EDT. The AMA reports the new Medicare cards will significantly impact physician practices’ workflows. Use this link to register for the AMA briefing.
CMS makes the following recommendations and steps to prepare for the change:
1.) Verify all of your Medicare patients’ addresses.
2.) Test your system changes and work with your billing office staff to be sure your office is ready to use the new MBI format.
3.) Make sure you can access your MAC’s secure portal.