New Medicare Cards On the Way – Are You Ready?

Medicare Card

There’s been lots of discussion lately around how MACRA (Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015) impact the provider community and the how it replaces Meaningful Use for physicians and clinicians starting this year. The Social Security Number Removal Initiative (SSNRI) is also included in this bill.

Under this initiative, CMS will remove the social security number based Health Insurance Claim Number (existing HICN) from all Medicare Cards by April 2019 and replace them with a new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI). This MBI will be considered confidential and should be protected as Personally Identifiable Information.

CMS has announced the transition period between April 1, 2018 and December 31, 2019, when either the HICN or the MBI will be accepted for claims submission. Note that the MBI number is 11 characters in length and made up only of numbers and uppercase letters (no special characters). Each MBI will be unique, randomly generated and the characters are “non-intelligent.” Beneficiaries may start using their new Medicare cards as soon as they get them. Additionally, CMS will not be offering end-to-end testing for claims processing; sites will use live claims as their test.

It will be important for facilities and providers to review the new MBI format specifications and work with their software vendors to determine any system changes that may be necessary well ahead of this April roll out period.  To learn more about this initiative, visit CMS’ website here.