New Medicare Cards Will Prevent Fraud - Identity Theft And Safeguard Taxpayer Dollars
Beginning in April The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, will mail new Medicare cards to all people with Medicare. It is a move to improve safety by removing Social Security Numbers from Medicare cards. The new cards will be mailed from April 2018 through April 2019.
New cards will feature a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) to replace the social security number-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) for Medicare transactions such as billing, eligibility status, and claim FISS/DDE submissions.
When Will You Get Your New Medicare Card?
The new Medicare cards will be mailed out on a flow basis determined by geographic location and other factors. Here is how the CMS website shows the mailing schedule, described as “Waves”:
Wave 1 (Cards mailed April – June 2018): DE, DC, MD, PA, VA, WV
Wave 2 (Cards mailed April – June 2018): AK AS, CA, GU, HI, MP, OR
Wave 3 (Cards mailed after June 2018): AR, IL, IN, IA, KS, MN, NE, ND, OK, SD, WI
Wave 4 (Cards mailed after June 2018): CT, ME, MA, NH, NJ, NY, RI, VT
Wave 5 (Cards mailed after June 2018): AL, FL, GA, NC, SC
Wave 6 (Cards mailed after June 2018): AZ, CO, ID, MT, NV, NM, TX, UT, WA, WY
Wave 7 (Cards mailed after June 2018): KY, LA, MI, MS, MO, OH, PR, TN, VI
The time period for this change will be April 2018 through December 31, 2019. During this period, providers will be allowed to use either the HICN or MBI (but not both) to exchange data with CMS. However, any NEW Medicare cards issued will only have the MBI.
Each new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier will contain unique, randomly generated characters. It will be 11 characters in length and will be made up of numbers and uppercase letters. Medicare beneficiaries will notice the MBI is clearly different from the HICN number. The new Medicare cards can be used as soon as they are received.
Congress Pushed For Change In Medicare Cards
Congress, the General Accountability Office, Medicare beneficiaries, and advocacy groups have pushed for this change to take the SSN taken off Medicare cards for a long time. On the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services government website it says, “the biggest reason we're taking the SSN off of Medicare cards is to fight medical identity theft for people with Medicare.”
B-Keep This In Mind:
- People who are enrolling in Medicare for the first time should be among the first in the country to receive the new cards.
- Your own new card will automatically come to you. You don't need to do anything as long as your address is up to date. If you need to update your address, visit your My Social Security account online.
- After you receive your new Medicare card, you should destroy your old Medicare card and start using your new card right away.
- Medicare will never call you uninvited and ask you to give personal or private information to get your new Medicare Number and card.
- Scam artists may try to get personal information (like your current Medicare Number) by contacting you about your new card. You should hang up and call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) to report the scam.
These changes are in part a result of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015
The New Medicare Card Home Page has a “Check the status of your new card” section.
The CMS Downloadable File of the ‘Wave’ mailing schedule
Full Text of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015