The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will be required to remove Social Security Numbers (SSNs) from all Medicare cards by April 2019. CMS will issue new Medicare cards with a new unique, randomly-assigned number called a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI). This change has been implemented to help prevent fraud and protect against medical identity theft.
The new cards have a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) instead of the Social Security Number-based identifier known as the Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN).
Like HICNs, MBIs will be 11 characters in length and occupy the same field in Medicare transactions. However MBIs will be clearly distinguishable from HICNs and composed of only numbers and uppercase letters (special characters are not permitted).
From April 1, 2018 to Dec. 31, 2019, CMS will accept both HICNs and MBIs on Medicare transactions (including eligibility requests and claims) for beneficiaries in the Medicare program prior to April 1, 2018. Beginning in January. 2020, chiropractic physicians may only use MBIs when submitting claims to CMS.
Communicate With Your Medicare Patients
Chiropractic practices will play a vital role in educating Medicare patients about their new cards. To prepare patients for this transition, your practice can:
- Use waiting room posters: Post notices in your office to alert your patients about the new cards.
- Verify patients’ addresses: If addresses on file differ from addresses on electronic eligibility transactions, ask patients to contact the Social Security Administration to update their Medicare records.
- Prepare appointment reminders: Starting in April 2018, include prompts in reminders for Medicare patients to bring their new cards to appointments.
It is important that you copy these new cards when your patients receive them and update the patient’s electronic health record. Remember that the patient’s name and MBI must appear on all claims, records, and forms exactly as it appears on their card! Failure to obtain this information will result in a denied claim and rejected documentation.
You can check the status of cards being mailed in your area on https://www.medicare.gov/