As of today, HICNs are still being used to identify patients on 14% of Medicare claims. Starting in four weeks, these claims will be returned, as MBIs are required after December 31, 2019. Find all the information you need on the conversion to MBIs at https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Medicare-Learning-Network-MLN/MLNMattersArticles/downloads/SE18006.pdf.
CMS will hold a September 11, 2019 Open Door Forum on the New Medicare Cards and MBIs (Medicare Beneficiary Identifiers), which become mandatory on January 1, 2020. For details on the Forum see https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Outreach/OpenDoorForums/Downloads/09112019NewMedicareCardODFAgenda.pdf. HIC numbers will no longer be valid after December 31, 2019. If you do not have an MBI for any of your patients, or you have other questions, see the CMS MLN Matters booklet on New Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI): Get It, Use It, at https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Medicare-Learning-Network-MLN/MLNMattersArticles/downloads/SE18006.pdf.
There are only six months to go on the transition to the New Medicare Card. To help prevent identity theft, the New Card removes a patient’s Social Security Number from their Card and replaces it with a new, randomly-assigned “Medicare Beneficiary Identifier” or MBI. MBIs must be protected as confidential PII. All patients should have received their new card by now, barring mailing address problems. After December 31, 2019 billing with the old “Health Insurance Claim Number” or HICN will be disallowed. If your facility has patients that don’t have a New Card, refer to https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Medicare-Learning-Network-MLN/MLNMattersArticles/Downloads/SE18006.pdf for instructions. Railroad Retirement Board Medicare cards are going through a parallel transition.
CMS has reported that more then two thirds of Medicare claims now use the MBI instead of the HIC number. All claims must use the MBI by the end of 2019. Medicare has published two handy references to help:
- New MBI: Get It, Use It, including three ways to obtain an MBI – https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Medicare-Learning-Network-MLN/MLNmattersArticles/downloads/SE18006.pdf.
- Understanding the MBI, a one-page chart for your wall or desktop clarifying how the MBI is coded – https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Medicare-Learning-Network-MLN/MLNProducts/Downloads/UnderstandingTheMBI-MLN3657604.pdf.
CMS will present a February 6, 2019 Open Door Forum call on the new Medicare card. For details see https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Outreach/FFSProvPartProg/Provider-Partnership-Email-Archive-Items/2019-01-31-eNews.html?DLPage=1&DLEntries=10&DLSort=0&DLSortDir=descending#_Toc536597350.
When you get your new Medicare card, destroy your old red-white-and-blue Medicare card, but do not destroy your Social Security card, Medicare Advantage plan card, or drug plan cards. If you belong to a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medicare drug plan (Part D), continue to use these cards when you get health care services or fill a prescription. Dispose of your old Medicare card carefully, as it contains Personally Identifiable Information (PII) that can be used for identity theft. Your dialysis facility will probably have a shredder if you don’t. New Medicare Cards, and your Medicare Beneficiary Identifier on it, are also confidential PII that should be closely guarded.
New Medicare cards have been mailed to all Network 16 and 18 patients. If you haven’t received yours, call 1-800-MEDICARE. Call center representatives can check the status and help you get your new card. Meanwhile, use your current Medicare card to get health care services. While your old card will be good through the end of 2019, you want to get and use your new card as soon as you can.
CMS has begun mailing New Medicare Cards to beneficiaries in Washington, Idaho, and Montana. Mailings are already complete to California, Oregon, and Alaska. For more information see: