New Medicare Card News

The CMS New Medicare Card (NMC) web page at https://www.medicare.gov/newcard/ keeps an ongoing tally of NMC mailings.  It shows that mailings are now underway for California, Oregon, and Alaska, but have not yet started for other Network 16 states.  The page also includes a sample of the new card, important information about what a patient should do when they receive one in the mail, and important tips on avoiding Medicare scams.

For providers, CMS has also published information on when a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI, which replaces the HICN on the card) can change, and what to do when it does.  Find a summary at https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Outreach/FFSProvPartProg/Provider-Partnership-Email-Archive-Items/2018-07-05-eNews.html?DLPage=1&DLEntries=10&DLSort=0&DLSortDir=descending#_Toc518370286.

NMC Mailings to CA, OR, AK

CMS has begun mailing New Medicare Cards to California, Oregon, and Alaska, and to all new Medicare patients, and all new Railroad Retirement Board cards are due to be mailed today, June 1, 2018.  The new MBIs can be used as soon as they are received.  HICNs can be used until December 31, 2019, but everyone is encouraged to use MBIs as soon as they are available.

Patients may not have shredders at home, so to reduce identity theft, facilities are encouraged to help patients dispose of their old Medicare cards carefully as PII or Personally Identifiable Information.  New Medicare Cards and MBIs are also confidential PII.

A new MLN Matters document, New Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI): Get It, Use It has been published to help acquaint facilities with the MBI.  It can be found at https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Medicare-Learning-Network-MLN/MLNMattersArticles/downloads/SE18006.pdf.  For more information, see https://www.medicare.gov/NewCard/.

Fraud Prevention Resources

CMS has published information about helping patients avoid fraud and scams, which may be particularly important with the release of the New Medicare Cards.

Medicare will never call beneficiaries uninvited and ask for personal or private information to get their new Medicare Number and card.  Scam artists may try to get personal information (like their current Medicare Number) by contacting them about their new card.  If your Medicare patient is asked for their information, for money, or someone threatens to cancel their health benefits if they don’t share their personal information, have them call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

The new Medicare Number is also called the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) and is replacing the current Social Security-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) on Medicare health insurance cards.  Medicare will continue to accept the HICN through the transition period; see https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/New-Medicare-Card/index.html#target.  Identity theft resources for people with Medicare can be found at https://www.medicare.gov/forms-help-and-resources/identity-theft/identity-theft.html.

New Medicare Card Mailings

CMS has started mailing New Medicare Cards showing new Medicare Beneficiary Identifiers (MBIs).  People enrolling in Medicare for the first time will be among the first to get the new cards.  Current Medicare beneficiaries will get their new cards on a rolling basis over the coming months (see https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/New-Medicare-Card/NMC-Mailing-Strategy.pdf for details).  CMS will continue to accept the Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) through the transition period (https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/New-Medicare-Card/index.html#target).

CMS is continuously adjusting and improving their mailing strategy to make sure they mail the new cards to accurate addresses, protect current Medicare beneficiaries and their personal information in every way possible, and use the highest levels of fraud protection.  They expect that all Medicare beneficiaries will receive their new cards over the next year.  For more information, visit https://www.cms.gov/medicare/new-medicare-card/nmc-home.html and https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/New-Medicare-Card/Providers/Providers.html.

New Medicare Cards News

CMS has updated and expanded their NMC website for providers, at https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/New-Medicare-Card/Providers/Providers.html to include information on how remittance advices with HICNs or MBIs will be handled.  They’ve also published an NMC Mailing Strategy document, at https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/New-Medicare-Card/NMC-Mailing-Strategy.pdf.  New cards will be mailed to Alaska, California, and Oregon between April and June 2018, and to Idaho, Montana, and Washington in July 2018 and beyond.

They’ve also published Guidance on how to talk to patients about their new cards, with suggested language to use to keep everyone on the same page and avoid confusion, at https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/New-Medicare-Card/New-Medicare-Card-Messaging-Guidelines-July-2017.pdf.  The NMC Overview web page at https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/New-Medicare-Card/index.html has also been updated.

NMC Ombudspersons

CMS has announced the appointment of a Provider Ombudsman for the New Medicare Card, to serve as a resource for the provider community.  The Ombudsman will ensure that CMS hears and understands any implementation problems experienced by clinicians, hospitals, suppliers, and other providers, will communicate about the New Medicare Card to providers, and help to develop solutions to any implementation problems that arise.  To reach the Provider Ombudsman, contact: NMCProviderQuestions@cms.hhs.gov .

The Medicare Beneficiary Ombudsman and other CMS staff will address inquiries from Medicare beneficiaries and their representatives through existing inquiry processes.  For more information on the Beneficiary Ombudsman see https://www.medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/11173.pdf and https://www.medicare.gov/claims-and-appeals/medicare-rights/get-help/ombudsman.html .

New Medicare Card Design

CMS has unveiled the design for the new Medicare cards that will be mailed to beneficiaries between April 2018 and April 2019.  For security, the new cards will not contain Social Security Numbers, but a randomly-assigned number instead.  The old cards should be shredded or otherwise destroyed.  For the CMS press release on the design of the new cards, see https://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Press-releases/2017-Press-releases-items/2017-09-14.html .