New Medicare Cards: Get Ready For a New Process

New Medicare Cards: Get Ready For a New Process


The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has officially started to mail new Medicare cards to beneficiaries. The new cards will use a unique, randomly assigned number called a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) to replace the SSN-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) currently used on Medicare cards. The law requires the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to issue new Medicare cards that do not display, code, or embed SSNs by April 2019.

An estimated 17.6 million persons, or 7% of all U.S. residents age 16 or older, were victims of one or more incidents of identity theft in 2014, according to the most recent data from the Department of Justice, revised on November 13th, 2017.

Moving to the new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) numbers that are not linked to the patient’s SSN will require updates to all healthcare beneficiary information, including financial, patient access, and EHR systems. YES HIM Consulting, Inc. is currently partnering with healthcare providers to review current billing processes and systems analysis, in order to ensure a proper transition that will enable accuracy in billing and reduce the number of payer denials. This will not be an easy process, but CMS is notifying healthcare providers and its partners in a timely manner.

As the new cards will use a unique MBI identifier number to replace the SSN-based HICN number, CMS recommends beneficiaries, after receiving their new card, to safely and securely destroy their current Medicare card and keep their new MBI confidential.

To support a smooth transition to the MBI for Medicare beneficiaries and healthcare providers, CMS has developed a Social Security Number Removal Initiative website with updated information.

For additional Medicare news and updates, check out our YES Blog.

Karen Youmans

Karen G. Youmans, MPA, RHIA, CCS – President, YES HIM Consulting, Inc. AHIMA-approved ICD-10-CM/PCS trainer
new Medicare cards

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