New Medicare Cards to Debut in April 2018
by Corey Ohalek
Associate General Counsel
Vrable Healthcare, Inc.
As the technology world expands, so does the risk of fraud and identify theft. In order to combat “fraud, fight identity theft, and keep taxpayer dollars safe,” the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will be issuing new Medicare cards to Medicare enrollees beginning in April 2018. The previously enacted Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 mandates CMS to remove Social Security numbers (SSN) from all Medicare cards by April 2019. SSN-based Health Insurance Claim Numbers (HICN) will be replaced with “a new, unique, randomly assigned number called a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI).” Congress’s belief is that the change from the SSN-based HICN will “better protect private healthcare and financial information, as well as federal healthcare benefit and service payments, from fraud.” Beneficiaries will not see a change in the “enrollees’ Medicare benefits, and the effective date of the new cards remains the date that each beneficiary was or is eligible for Medicare.”
In April 2018, new Medicare cards will be issued through the mail with mailings occurring in phases based on geographic location dictated by CMS. CMS will provide additional details on the timing of the new cards as the mailing progresses. Providers, such as Vrable Healthcare, Inc., have been preparing their facilities for the upcoming change to ensure a smooth transition to the new cards. Lastly, as an effort to provide more protection to enrollees, CMS has made it clear that it will “never ask enrollees for personal or private information or charge a fee to obtain the new card. In fact, enrollees need not take any action to obtain these new cards.”
For more information on the upcoming changes to the cards, click here.