CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) has announced that they will begin to issue new Medicare cards next month. Concerns about the risk of fraud and identity theft has encouraged CMS to revamp and create a new look for the Medicare cards.
For many years, Medicare cards have included a beneficiaries Social Security number. With this number visible, possibilities for Medicare-related fraud and identity theft could occur if the card was lost or stolen.
The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015 has required CMS to remove all Social Security Numbers (SSNs) from all Medicare cards by April 2019. Instead of a SSN-based Health Insurance Claim Number, a new 11-character Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) will take place. Any part of a participant’s SSN will longer be visible on the new Medicare card.
CMS will begin to mail new cards April 1, 2018 until April 1, 2019. There will be seven waves which are determined by geographic location. View CMS’s new Medicare Mailing Strategy by geographic location.
As a Medicare beneficiary CMS will send the new cards automatically and there is so NO required action for the participant to do. Medicare eligibility and benefits will NOT be affected.
Once received, participants will be able to utilize the card as needed. There is a 21-month transition period where both the new and old-format cards can be used. This period will end at the end of year 2019. All Medicare beneficiaries are expected to use ONLY their new Medicare card beginning of 2020.
More info on the new Medicare card can be found on the CMS website.