CMS Beneficiary ID Changes


As a reminder, Medicare will be making changes to all beneficiary identification numbers beginning in April 2018. The initiative will be completed for all Medicare recipients by April 2019.

Medicare is taking steps to remove Social Security numbers from Medicare cards. Through this initiative CMS will prevent fraud, fight identify theft and protect essential program funding and the private healthcare and financial information of Medicare beneficiaries.

CMS will issue new Medicare cards with a new unique, randomly-assigned number called a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) to replace the existing Social Security-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN). This will occur both on the cards and in various CMS systems currently used. CMS will start mailing new cards to Medicare beneficiaries in April 2018. All Medicare cards will be replaced by April 2019.

Based on feedback from healthcare providers, practice managers and other stakeholders, CMS is developing capabilities where doctors and other healthcare providers will be able to look up the new MBI through a secure tool at the point of service. To make this transition easier for you and your business operations, there is a 21 month transition period where all healthcare providers will be able to use either the MBI or the HICN for billing purposes.

Even though your systems will need to be able to accept the new MBI format by April 2018, you can continue to bill and file healthcare claims using either number during the transition period. Medicare encourages providers to start working with their software vendors to make sure systems will be updated to reflect these changes.

Visit the CMS website to learn more about this new initiative.

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