The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 requires that all Social Security Numbers (SSNs) are removed from all Medicare cards by April 2019. A new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) will replace the SSN-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) on the new Medicare cards for Medicare transactions for billing, eligibility status, and claim status. Your new MBI card must be brought to all medical appointments to ensure you receive your benefits. You can find more details in the press release (5/30/17).
Under the new system, for each person enrolled in Medicare the following will occur:
- A new MBI will be assigned
- A new Medicare card will be mailed
The MBI is confidential like the SSN and should be protected as Personally Identifiable Information.
Why are the new Medicare cards important?
The biggist reason the SSN will be removed off of Medicare cards it to fight medical identity theft for people with Medicare.
By replacing the SSN-based HICN on all Medicare cards, they can better protect:
- Private health care and financial information
- Federal health care benefit and service payments
What's the timeline for the new Medicare card?
Getting Started: Work has already started to transition to the new MBIs by April 2018. Beginning April 2018, new cards will begin to be mailed to all people with Medicare.
Systems Tested: There is a plan to test systems that will use the MBI, including enhanced integration testing for new or high risk systems.
Transition Period: There wil be a transition period where you can use either the HICN or the MBI to exchange data. The transition period will begin no earlier than April 1, 2018 and run through December 31, 2019. During this time, montoring and adjustments with the use of HICNs and MBIs will take place to see if by January 2020, ONLY MBIs can be used.
After the transition period ends January 1, 2020, you'll need to use MBIs on all claims with a few exceptions where both can still be used.
How will the MBI look?
- Clearly different than the HICN & RRB (US Railroad Retirement Board) number
- 11 Characters in length
- Made up of only numbers and uppercase letters (no special characters)
Will the MBIs characters have any meaning?
Each MBI is unique, randomly generated, and the characters are "non-intelligent", which means they don't have any hidden or special meaning.
What do the new Medicare cards mean for people with Medicare?
The MBI won't change Medicare benefits. People with Medicare may start using their new Medicare cards and MBIs as soon as they get them.