Medicare is Removing Social Security Numbers From Medicare Cards

June 5, 2017

To protect seniors from identify theft and to save taxpayer dollars, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will be replacing the Social Security Number (SSN) on all Medicare cards with a new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI). The MBI will be used for billing, eligibility and claim status once implemented. Make sure your practice and your systems are ready!

CMS will begin mailing the new Medicare cards in April of 2018, and is required to replace all cards by April of 2019. There will be a transition period through December 31, 2019 where you can use either the SSN or the MBI for all communications with CMS.

Here are some things you can do to ensure a seamless transition:

  • Verify your patients’ addresses. Your patients will not get a new card if their address is not correct. If the address you have on file is different than the Medicare address you get in electronic eligibility transaction responses, ask your patients to correct their address in Medicare’s records through Social Security
  • Get ready to use the new MBI Format. Find out if your system will be ready to accept the 11-digit MBI. If you use vendors to bill Medicare, ask them about their MBI practice management system changes and make sure they are ready for the change. Internally test changes to your practice management systems and business processes by April 2018.
  • Visit the CMS Social Security Number Removal Initiative (SSNRI) Provider webpage for the latest details about the transition. You can also subscribe to the weekly MLN Connects newsletter for updates and new information.