The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015 requires the removal of Social Security Numbers (SSNs) also known as the SSN-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) from all Medicare cards by April 2019 to help prevent fraud, fight identity theft and protect private information. Come April 2018, your Medicare patients will have a unique, randomly assigned Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) for transactions like billing, eligibility status and claim status.
To help ease the transition, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is developing a process where you can look up the new MBI through a secure tool at the point of service. Also there will be a 21-month transition period where you will be able to use either the MBI or HICN for billing purposes. So, even though your system will need to be able to accept the new MBI format by April 2018, you can continue to bill and file health care claims using a patient’s HICN during the transition period. We encourage you to work with your billing vendor to make sure your system will be updated by April as your Medicare patients begin to arrive at your office with new cards in hand.
Here are 5 steps you can take today to be ready:

  • Go to the CMS website and sign-up for the weekly MLN Connects® newsletter.
  • Attend CMS’ quarterly calls to get more information.
  • Verify all of your Medicare patients’ addresses. If the addresses you have on file are different than the Medicare address you get on electronic eligibility transactions, ask your patients to contact Social Security and update their Medicare records.
  • Later this fall, CMS will provide posters and brochures about the new cards you can display in your office.
  • Test your system changes and work with your billing office staff to be sure the practice is ready to use the new MBI format.