CMS Transition of
CMS to end use of Social Security numbers on Medicare cards
As a component of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is removing Social Security numbers from Medicare cards. The goals are to reduce the risk of identity theft for beneﬁciaries and the number of fraudulent claims made to Medicare.
The New Medicare Card project (formerly known as the Social Security Number Removal Initiative) will require eligibility and claims processing software, electronic health records and payer systems to use randomly generated Medicare Beneﬁciary Identiﬁers (MBI) Medicare cards with the MBI over a one-year transition period that began April 1, 2018.
Scroll down to view the project scope and timeline, additional resources and frequently asked questions.
New Medicare Card Timeline
CMS is mailing new cards to beneﬁciaries
Providers billing Medicare should expect to start seeing and accepting new Medicare cards
Providers should be verifying patient addresses during visits
Providers may use either the HICN or MBI numbers for processing, but are encouraged to update their patient records and start routinely using the MBI as soon as possible
CMS will update HETS eligibility transactions submitted with HCIN to indicate when a beneficiary has been issued a new Medicare card
A look-up tool is available for providers to check patient MBIs (see link to Help for Provider Organizations below)
MBI to begin appearing on remittance advisories
April 1, 2019
All cards have been mailed to beneﬁciaries to meet statutory deadline of April 16
Dec. 31, 2019
Last date a HICN will be accepted by CMS, with certain exceptions
Jan. 1, 2020
Providers, payers and beneﬁciaries are now compliant with the Congressional mandate to accept MBIs only by this date
HICN is no longer exchanged, with limited exceptions
New Medicare Card Project Scope
The scope includes:
1. Generation of MBIs for all new, current, archived and deceased beneﬁciaries
2. Issuance of redesigned Medicare cards with the MBI to current and new beneﬁciaries
3. Modiﬁcation of systems and business processes to accommodate the receipt, transmission, display and processing of the MBI
4. Translation between the MBI and HICN for relevant partners and stakeholders
ABILITY Support to Customers and Partners
As the leading connectivity channel for Medicare, ABILITY performed an assessment of its applications and systems in preparation for this effort. ABILITY applications are compliant with the new requirements.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does New Medicare Card project apply to both traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage?
Yes. Beneﬁciaries in both types of plans will be assigned MBIs, however Medicare Advantage and prescription drug beneficiaries may still have health plan member IDs assigned and visible on their cards.
Is it true that archived and deceased beneﬁciaries will also be assigned MBIs?
Yes, more than 90 million deceased beneﬁciaries will receive new numbers. This will not impact providers and payers.
How will this affect Medicare beneficiaries?
The MBI won’t change Medicare eligibility or beneﬁts. Medicare beneﬁciaries should begin using their new Medicare cards and the MBI as soon as they receive them.