The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is required to remove Social Security Numbers (SSNs) from all Medicare cards by April 2019. A new, unique Medicare Number will replace the SSN-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) on each new Medicare card. In April, the Center For Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will begin mailing new Medicare cards with Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) numbers.
CMS Administrator Seema Verma said, “We’re taking this step to protect our seniors from fraudulent use of Social Security numbers which can lead to identity theft and illegal use of Medicare benefits. We want to be sure that Medicare beneficiaries and healthcare providers know about these changes well in advance and have the information they need to make a seamless transition."
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. The effective date of the new cards, like the old cards, is the date each beneficiary was or is eligible for Medicare. Once beneficiaries get their new Medicare cards with an MBI, they can use their new cards to enroll in a Medicare health (Medicare Advantage) or drug plan. Those Medicare beneficiaries who do choose to enroll in Medicare health and/or drug plans will still also get an insurance card from their health and/or drug plans. As always, while beneficiaries are enrolled in health and/or drug plans, they should use the cards from those plans when they get health care and/or prescriptions.
Individuals with Medicare will be able to check the status of card mailings in their area on Medicare.gov. As a reminder, the MBI is confidential like the SSN and should be protected as Personally Identifiable Information.
For more information https://www.cms.gov/medicare/new-medicare-card/nmc-home.html.