Lansing seniors will receive safer Medicare cards next spring
information summarized from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
In order to reduce the risk of medical identity theft for seniors, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is in the process of removing Social Security Numbers (SSNs) 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 like billing, eligibility status, and claim status.
“We’ve often heard from Congress, the General Accountability Office, people with Medicare, and advocacy groups that they want the SSN taken off Medicare cards,” states the Medicare website. Removing this identifier from Medicare cards and replacing it with a separate Medicare Beneficiary Identifier will offer better protection of private health care information, private financial information, and federal health care benefit and service payments.
Under the new system, for each person enrolled in Medicare, the CMS will:
- Assign a new MBI
- Mail a new Medicare card
The MBI is confidential like the SSN and should be protected as Personally Identifiable Information.
The MBI will be 11 characters in length and made up only of numbers and uppercase letters (no special characters). Each MBI is unique and randomly generated. The characters are “non-intelligent,” which means they don’t have any hidden or special meaning.
The MBI will not change Medicare benefits. People with Medicare may start using their new Medicare cards and MBIs as soon as they get them. The government has already started the process, with a goal of shifting to the new MBIs by April 2018. Beginning in April 2018, they will start mailing the new Medicare cards with the MBI to all people with Medicare.
For more detailed information about the transition period and Medicare plan exceptions, visit New Medicare Cards (link) on the official Medicare website.