New Medicare Cards: What You Need to Know

April 3, 2018

Guard the Card!

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is fighting Medicare fraudulent activity by removing the Social Security Number (SSN), the patient’s sex, and the patient signature from the current Medicare card. A new card with a new Medicare number known as the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) will be mailed to all Medicare beneficiaries. The mailing process will begin in April 2018.

We need your help to convey the following messages to your Medicare patients:

  • Medicare will never contact a beneficiary and ask for their Medicare number, and the beneficiary should not share their Medicare number over the telephone, email, or in person, unless they have given permission in advance.
  • Medicare beneficiaries should never loan out their Medicare number or accept payment for the use of their Medicare number.
  • Medicare beneficiaries should review their Medicare Summary Notices (MSNs) to be sure they are only being charged for items and serviced they have received.

Ask your Patients for Their Insurance Card at Every Visit

People who are entitled to Medicare effective 4/1/2018, and later will only receive an MBI. They will never be assigned a Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN). Additionally, the CMS is aware that some providers currently use a combination of the SSN and various suffixes until they find a HICN that matches their patient.

The CMS will not allow for the return of an MBI in eligibility transactions if the SSN or the HICN is provided because there is a high risk of medical identity theft. Providers should ensure they have a registration/admission process in place that requests the Medicare identification card from their patients.

The CMS has created multiple resources for providers to share with their Medicare patients. All resources are available in several languages.