Ease new Medicare beneficiary card transition through staff education
SAN DIEGO – New Medicare cards will be hitting medical practices soon. Educate your billing and office staff and confirm with your vendors and electronic health record that they are ready for the change, an expert practice manager said here at the United Rheumatology National Meeting.
The original rollout date of April 1, 2018, was delayed to May 1 due to CMS’s reaction to fraud regarding the new cards, Georgia Bonney, Virginia Rheumatology Clinic Practice Manager, said during her presentation.
The Medicare Access and CHIP Authorization (MACRA) Act of 2015 mandated the removal of a Social Security number–based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN), Bonney reminded the audience. The new Medicare cards will include an alphanumeric Member Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) and are designed to reduce fraud.
The HICN-to-MBI transition period concludes on Dec. 31, 2019.
Providers will have contact with the MBI when a patient presents the card at the time of service. The provider will also receive it on remittance advice, and can obtain it through a secure web portal with the Medicare Administrative Contractor Provider Portal, she said, noting that the MBI look-up is not available until June 2018.
Another key date in the transition period is Oct. 1, 2018; after this date, when a valid HICN is submitted on a Medicare claim, both the HICN and MBI will be returned on the remittance advice, Bonney said.
“So maybe we train our billers to look for and identify that second number coming in and plug those into the informatic screen of the EHR,” she said.
She said to make sure the front desk is aware to not just look for new cards, but also educate them on what to do with the new number.
“Create a checks and balances system for your practice to make sure you are covered,” Bonney said, noting that on Jan. 1, 2020, a claim will be rejected without an MBI.
She recommends a practice choose a small window of a few months to make the transition, so all members of the staff are focused on a successful implementation of the new cards.
Providers can visit the CMS website for additional information. – by Joan-Marie Stiglich, ELS
Bonney G. Impact of Medicare ID card changes on practice management. Presented at: United Rheumatology National Meeting. April 20-21, 2018; San Diego.
Disclosure: Bonney reports no relevant financial disclosures.