The New Medicare Card Project
Your new Medicare number is on the way!
When will you receive yours?
The new Medicare cards will be mailed out in phases by the federal government (CMS – Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services) starting in April 2018. Once they begin in April, the mailings will continue for the next 12 months. Be on the lookout for your new Medicare card in the mail. An explanation of the New Medicare Card Project will be available in your “Medicare and You Guide.” Guides will be mailed to current beneficiaries by October 2017.
Everyone who relies on the use of Medicare numbers (Social Security Administration, Rail Road Retirees, Health Care Providers, etc.) should be fully prepared to use the new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) exclusively by April of 2019, with a few exceptions. For more information, visit https://www.medicare.gov/forms-help-and-resources/your-medicare-card.html.
Why the new card?
In 2015, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) was passed. One of the items in the legislation was to replace Social Security numbers on the card to prevent identity theft and Medicare fraud. With approximately 55 million people enrolled in Medicare and all of the systems that use that number, the switch will cost taxpayers a whopping $316,762,171. To fully understand why the new cards are being issued, read this article by the Federal Trade Commission.
What will it look like?
The new Medicare cards will have a new design, but will still be made of paper. Gender and signature will be omitted on the new Medicare cards. Your Medicare Claim Number (Social Security number plus letter prefix or suffix) or Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) will be replaced with non-intelligent and randomized 11 characters. It will be comprised of numbers and capital letters only. Your new number will be called an MBI (Medicare Beneficiary Identifier).
You do not need to do anything to get the card. Guard your Medicare card and keep it stored in a safe place. It is recommended that you do not keep your Medicare or Social Security card in your wallet.
Do not provide information from your card over the telephone in most cases. Be certain who you are speaking to. If you have initiated the call to your doctor, insurer or trusted community agencies, it should be fine. State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) representatives work with Medicare and is example of a trusted community agency. To learn more about protecting your identity and Medicare click here.