In April of 2018 and continuing for one year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will launch new Medicare cards. Called Medicare Beneficiary Identifiers (MBIs), these new numbers will replace the current health insurance claim numbers (HICN) that are social security numbers. The idea is to help prevent Medicare fraud and help beneficiaries avoid identity theft.
While the transition to MBIs will continue through December 2019, ensure the necessary workflow and technology system are updated now to prepare and avoid payment delays before the January 1, 2020 deadline.
Key Differences on New Card
Some differences in the new cards include:
- Uppercase letters and numbers
- The letters B, I, L, O, S and Z will not be used to avoid confusing letters with numbers
- Positions 2, 5, 8, and 9 will always be letters
- No embedded logic
- Each beneficiary will be assigned a unique identifier
Are You Prepared?
Confirm that technology system changes do the following (as recommended by the AMA):
- Store both the HICN and MBI (no overwriting) because you’ll need the HICN for other purposes, such as audits, retrospective adjustments, appeals, and collections.
- Accept and store a beneficiary’s MBI in the electronic remittance advice for claims submitted with HICNs.
- Prompt staff to ask patients for the new Medicare card when an eligibility response includes a message indicating that CMS has mailed the beneficiary a new card.
- Register for a Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) Portal account to utilize the secure look-up tool that will launch June 2018. The tool will provide MBI information and will be useful when the patient does not have the card with him/her.
There are real concerns that the packages the new card is mailed in will be discarded as junk mail. Start the conversation now with patients about the new card to prepare patients and ensure they bring the new card to the practice as soon as it’s received. The more patient education, the better and your bottom line will thank you.