Beginning in April 2018, new Medicare cards without Social Security numbers will be sent to beneficiaries. Instead of the Social Security-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN), the new cards will use a unique, randomly assigned combination of letters and digits that will be known as the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI).
How Will The MBI Look?
The MBI will be:
- Clearly different from the HICN number
- 11-characters in length
- Made up only of numbers and uppercase letters (no special characters)
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has promised an easy transition for Medicare providers. Through December 2019, providers will be allowed to use either the MBI or the old HICN.
How Will The Process Work?
Currently there are nearly 60 million people enrolled in the Medicare program, so it is no small task to develop a new Medicare identifier and issue new cards to all Medicare beneficiaries; but a 2015 law passed by Congress (The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act) gave CMS four years to accomplish it.
The first step will be to implement the new identification number and new Medicare card with the non-Social Security number identifier for new enrollees. From there, CMS must issue a new Medicare card to every current enrollee by April 2019.
The new Medicare card will work exactly like the old one, but will safeguard private information of interest to identity thieves. If you are currently enrolled in Medicare, you’ll receive information directly from CMS about when to expect your new Medicare card.
For more information about the new Medicare ID card, please see:
Until next time,
Andrew Herman, President
AH Insurance Services, Inc.