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Posted By Lauren Brawley On December 11, 2019

Transitioning from SSNs to New Medicare Identifier Numbers and Cards

New identifier numbers released to Medicare recipients

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has removed Social Security Numbers (SSNs) from all Medicare cards. Previously, each Medicaid recipient had a Social Security Number (SSN)-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN). New Medicare identifier numbers replace the previous SSN-based numbers. Since April 2019, each Medicare member has been issued a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI). The new numbers minimize identity theft and fraudulence by removing the client’s social security number. 

Who received a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier?

Example of the new Medicare patient identifier cards.

Everyone who is on Medicare will have this new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI). Each spouse or dependent of a Medicare recipient will have his or her own identifiers. The randomly generated, 11-digit Medicaid identifiers include uppercase letters and numbers. For example, 1EG4-TE5-MK73 is a mock number that CMS provided.

When did this begin?

CMS began issuing new cards to people with Medicare in April of 2018. All Medicare members should now have a new card with an updated MBI. The transition period from April 2018 ends December 31, 2019. This time has allowed healthcare professionals to use either the HICN or the MBI. Beginning January 1, 2020, the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) must be used on all Medicare healthcare transactions, with very few exceptions, to prevent rejections.

How does this affect practices that accept Medicare?

Administrative and billing personnel should continue to ask patients for their new Medicare cards during point-of-care. This is similar to how you would verify insurance coverage. MBIs are on the new Medicare cards to update records. If patients do not have their new cards during a visit, providers may use their secured MAC portal to look up a client’s MBI. Existing patients and as well new patients need to be updated in records. This new MBI is sent on claims when Electronic Super Bills are approved and is also used in the Insurance Eligibility Verification request.

For more information on the Transition to new Medicare cards, please see the fact sheet released by The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

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About Lauren Brawley

Lauren Brawley is a Marketing Specialist at Patagonia Health, a cloud-based EHR designed specifically for behavioral and public healthcare. Lauren integrates her strong communications skills with industry research to keep partners up to date on important Behavioral and Public Health resources and news.

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