Medicare is preparing to change your Medicare Card.
Coming next year Medicare will stop using a person’s Social Security number for identification. They will send new cards to patients with Medicare IDs (special Medicare number). The change is due to a new law enacted two years ago to help prevent identity theft.
The agency plans to begin mailing the new cards with the new Medicare Beneficiary Identifiers (MBIs) starting in April 2018. The transition period runs through 2019. Providers can use the MBIs or Medicare Claim Numbers (HICN), which are based on Social Security numbers in most cases.
When will this happen?
The 2015 law, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, requires CMS to remove Social Security numbers from Medicare cards by April 2019.
“We’re now figuring out the best way to mail the cards,” the agency advised providers. “We’ll keep you posted about critical information so you can be ready to ask your Medicare patients at the time of service if they have a new card with an MBI.”
CMS plans a “wide-scale outreach” to let beneficiaries know that they need to bring their new Medicare cards when they get care and how to get MBIs if they lose their cards.
AARP’s Fraud Watch Network ambassador, Frank Abagnale, advises consumers not to share Social Security numbers unnecessarily. “And don’t carry your Medicare card unless you are on your way to a health care appointment,” he wrote last year. “Instead, make a copy and black out all but the last four digits.”
Beware that scams have already been reported. The AARP Fraud Watch has a great article here on what to be aware of and how to handle the situation. Medicare will NOT call you about this change.
So, do you think about the change to Medicare IDs on your Medicare Card? Leave us a comment below.