New Medicare ID Cards Dropping Social Security Numbers to Help Prevent Identity Theft

The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015 requires the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to remove Social Security Numbers from all Medicare ID cards no later than April of 2019 as part of an effort to help reduce potential identity theft amongst the senior population.

Currently, Medicare uses a SSN-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) on all cards and, since Medicare beneficiaries are required, in many cases, to present their Medicare ID card when receiving care or services, this opens this population up to increased chances of experiencing identity theft.

Under the MACRA however, New Medicare ID cards will instead have a new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI). The MBI will be made up of 11 random characters and numbers; each being unique and “non-intelligent” to help guard against identity theft.

New Medicare ID cards will begin arriving in homes in March of 2018. Current individuals are strongly encouraged to destroy their current, SSN-based, Medicare ID card once they receive the updated version. There will be a transition period starting on April 1st of that year and running through December 31, 2019 where beneficiaries can use either their current Medicare ID card with the SSN-based HICN or the new version with the MBI. After January 1, 2020, beneficiaries should only use the New Medicare ID card with the MBI.

Medical identity theft is one of the main forms of identity theft and the new Medicare ID cards should help better protect:

• Private health care information
• Financial information
• Federal health care benefit and service payments

For more information regarding the new Medicare ID cards, please contact Medicare Pathways for further assistance. You can reach a licensed sales agent at 866-466-9118 for more information.