CMS Reveals New Medicare Numbers and Card Design

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) gave the public its first look at the newly designed Medicare card. The new Medicare card contains a unique, randomly-assigned number that replaces the current Social Security-based number.
CMS will begin mailing the new cards to people with Medicare benefits in April 2018 to meet the statutory deadline for replacing all existing Medicare cards by April 2019. In addition to today’s announcement, people with Medicare will also be able to see the design of the new Medicare card in the 2018 Medicare & You Handbook. The handbooks are being mailed and will arrive throughout September.

“The goal of the initiative to remove Social Security numbers from Medicare cards is to help prevent fraud, combat identify theft, and safeguard taxpayer dollars,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma.

CMS has assigned all people with Medicare benefits a new, unique Medicare number, which contains a combination of numbers and uppercase letters. People with Medicare will receive a new Medicare card in the mail, and will be instructed to safely and securely destroy their current Medicare card and keep their new Medicare number confidential. Issuance of the new number will not change benefits that people with Medicare receive.  
“The updated Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) cards are a positive step in protecting the identities our patients who have Medicare coverage.  Identity theft can happen not only for financial reasons, but also for medical treatment and prescriptions.  It is important to review the explanation of benefits (EOB) that comes to you in the mail to make sure it is a service you received.  HIPAA does allow you the right to access your medical record in any form you would like.  At HAMC you can access your records either through our secure patient portal (My Health), in paper or electronic format.  This access lets you make sure you understand your medical care and to also make sure your medical information is correct.” States Mandie Medalen, RHIT; Health Information Director and HIPAA Privacy Officer at Heart of America Medical Center in Rugby.

There will also be a 21-month transition period where doctors, healthcare providers, and suppliers will be able to use either their current SSN-based Medicare Number or their new, unique Medicare number, to ease the transition.
This initiative takes important steps towards protecting the identities of people with Medicare. CMS is also working with healthcare providers to answer their questions and ensure that they have the information they need to make a successful transition to the new Medicare number. For more information, please visit: