In a recent press release, CMS announced the timeline for the replacement of current Medicare Cards, which contain the Social Security-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN), with new cards that contain a Medical Beneficiary Identifier (MBI). CMS is beginning its campaign to ready participants, providers, and physician billers for the upcoming change. As identify theft has become more prevalent, people are increasingly cautious with their personal information, and lost or stolen Social Security numbers in particular, make a person extremely vulnerable to identity theft or fraud. In response to this growing security issue, CMS will begin issuing the new cards in April 2018 with a deadline of April 2019 for all cards to be replaced.
Additionally, participants and providers will be able to access MBI numbers online if needed, using a secure log-in process. Also to minimize disruption during this stage, there will be a 21 month transition period where providers will be able to bill medical claims with either the current HICN the new MBI. CMS’s goal is to make this move as unproblematic as possible.