The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has announced the look of a new medicare card. This new announcement will affect some 44 million people in the United States, which represents approximately 15% of our population.

Why did CMS plan to make this seemingly minor change? Well, with the rise of identity theft, this new card will mask beneficiary’s social security numbers with a new number called, the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI).

Surprisingly, although this announcement came recently, Section 501 of Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) mandates the removal of the Social Security Number (SSN)-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) from Medicare ID cards. This new MBI will be 11 digits with a mix of numbers and uppercase letters.

Old Medicare Card vs New Medicare Card

What is the timeline for this new rollout?

CMS will mail new Medicare ID cards from April 1, 2018 through April 1, 2019. The HICN, which contains the SSN, will be replaced with a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI).

Why are the new Medicare cards important?

The biggest reason CMS is taking the social security number off of Medicare cards is to fight medical identity theft for people with Medicare.

Bottom Line

Although, Medicare benefits are not changing, this new card will add another layer of protection in the fight against identity theft.

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