REMINDER: New Medicare Numbers and Cards Coming April 2018

September 2017 ~

CMS, with the help of Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs), has begun mailing letters to all Medicare Fee-For-Service providers regarding the assignment of new Medicare cards and new Medicare Beneficiary Identifiers (MBIs) to all Medicare beneficiaries set which will become effective in April 2018.

CMS asks providers to carefully review their letters as they contain specific information for MACs and to also reference the Transition to New Medicare Numbers and Cards fact sheet to be fully prepared for the April 2018 transition.

A sample letter can be seen here and a preview of the new Medicare card design can be viewed here.


As reported in June, according to the most current statistics from the Department of Justice, between 2012 and 2014, the number of seniors (age 65+) who were the victims of identity theft increased from 2.1 million to 2.6 million. As a means of preventing this type of fraud and identity theft, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) mandates that all Social Security numbers be removed from all Medicare cards by April 2019. CMS will begin mailing the new cards with randomly-assigned and unique identifying number in place of the beneficiary’s Social Security number in April 2018.

To help providers prepare for the transition, CMS has developed a multi-faceted outreach campaign to acclimate to the new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) for such transactions as billing, eligibility status, and claim status. Providers and beneficiaries will also have access to a secure look-up tool that will support quick access to the Medicare beneficiary identifier when needed.

Providers will have a 21-month transition period during which they will be able to use either the new Medicare beneficiary identifier number or the Social Security-based health insurance claim number. Beneficiaries will be instructed to safely and securely destroy their current Medicare cards and to keep their new Medicare beneficiary identifier number confidential. The numbers represent no change in Medicare benefits.

CMS says the new Medicare cards will offer greater protection to more than 57.7 million Americans. “We’re taking this step to protect our seniors from fraudulent use of Social Security numbers which can lead to identity theft and illegal use of Medicare benefits,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “We want to be sure that Medicare beneficiaries and healthcare providers know about these changes well in advance and have the information they need to make a seamless transition.”


Source(s): CMS Press Release; HealthcareFinance NewsHIStalkModern HealthcareHealthLeaders MediaHealthcareDIVE;