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I hear that Medicare cards are being changed.

Posted: July 21, 2017, 8:43AM

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is working on a fraud prevention initiative that removes Social Security numbers from Medicare cards to help combat identity theft.  Teh new cards will use a randomly assigned number called a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) to replace the Social Security-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) that is currently used on Medicare cards.  CMS will begin mailing new cards in April 2018 and willmeet the congressional deadline for replacing all Medicare cards by April 2019.

Providers and beneficiaries will be able to use secure look-up tools that will support quick access to MBIs when needed, and there will be a 21 month transition period when providers will be able to use either the MBI or the HICN.

CMS will assign all Medicare beneficiaries a new, unique MBI number which will contain a combinatin of numbers and uppercase letters.  Issuance of the new MBI will not change the benefits the Medicare beneficiary receives.  Beneficiaries will need to keep this number confidential, as is the case with the HICN that is currently in use.

Personal identity theft affects a large and growing number of older adults.  People age 65 and over are increasingly the victims of this type of crime.  It is the goal of CMS to offer greater protection to more than 57.7 million beneficiaries.

Source:  "New Medicare cards offer greater protection to more than57.7 million Americans", https://www.cms.gov/Newsroom?MediaReleaseDatabase/Press-releases/2017-Press-release..., 053017.

 






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