Beginning in April 2018, Medicare patients will start coming to your office with new cards in hand. Medicare is taking steps to remove Social Security numbers from Medicare cards to prevent fraud, fight identity theft and protect essential program funding along with the private health care and financial information of our beneficiaries. At this time, we’re asking you to help us by making sure your systems are ready to begin using the new numbers in April 2018.
We are working to make this process as easy as possible for you, your patients and your staff. For example, based on customer feedback, doctors and other health care providers will be able look up the new MBI using their Medicare Administrative Contractor’s (MAC’s) secure portal.
During a 21-month transition period, all health care providers will be able to use either the MBI or the HICN for billing purposes. So, even though your systems need to be able to accept the new MBI format by April 2018, you can continue to bill and file health care claims using a patient’s HICN during the transition period. To prepare, please take these three important steps:
- Verify all of your Medicare patients’ addresses. If the addresses you have on file are different than the Medicare address you get on electronic eligibility transactions, ask your patients to contact the Social Security Administration and update their records.
- Test your system changes and work with your billing office staff to be sure your office is ready to use the new MBI format.
- Make sure you can access your MAC’s secure portal.
We are continuing to develop products, such as a printer friendly fact sheet, a tear-off sheet in English or Spanish, posters and other aids to help explain the steps patients and providers can take to prepare. Please keep an eye on https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/New-Medicare-Card/Providers/Providers.html to find these resources, other tools, and updates. At the same website, you may also order hard copy products and sign up for the Medicare Learning Network (MLN) Connects newsletter and learn about our quarterly calls.
For more information:
Freund can be reached via email at: NMCProviderQuestions@cms.hhs.gov.
Eugene Freund, MD, MSPH, CAPT USPHS
Provider Ombudsman for the new Medicare card
Medical Officer, CMS
Disclosures: Freund reports no relevant financial disclosures.