Written by SMH Patient Registration Manager Roxanne George
If you’re a Medicare beneficiary in Florida, be on the lookout for a new identification card in your mail this summer. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is rolling out a new ID card design—and the change goes beyond just a fresh look.
As part of CMS’s initiative to increase protections for beneficiaries’ personal information, the Medicare cards will no longer feature Social Security number-based Health Insurance Claim Numbers (HICN). Instead, each cardholder will have a unique, randomly assigned Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) number that is not based on his/her Social Security number. CMS explained that removing the HICNs from the cards will “prevent fraud, fight identity theft and keep taxpayer dollars safe.”
CMS began mailing out the new Medicare cards in April, but don’t panic if you haven’t gotten yours yet. The MBI cards are shipping in phases, by geographic location. Medicare beneficiaries living at Florida addresses are scheduled to receive the new cards in June.
As Medicare transitions from using HICNs to MBIs, claims using either identifier can be used. It will not prevent or delay you in receiving the care you need. Medicare HICNs are set be phased out completely by Jan. 1, 2020.
The replacement cards are free, and the process is automatic. Remember that Medicare will never ask for personal information to get a new identifier number or card, nor will representatives ask to verify a Social Security number over the phone.
For more information on the new Medicare cards, visit the CMS website
Roxanne George is manager of SMH’s Main Registration and Inpatient Authorizations. She is nationally certified in healthcare access management and is an active member of the Healthcare Financial Management Association.