Changes are Coming (At Least by 2018) for Medicare Numbers

Social Security disability recipients become eligible for Medicare coverage following the award of monthly disability benefits. Medicare beneficiaries are issued a red, white, and blue card that has their Medicare identification number on it. The number issued is a combination of the Social Security Number of the beneficiary and letters. However, on April 16, 2015 Congress passed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015. Section 501 of MACRA requires Medicare to remove Social Security Numbers from Medicare ID cards and replace existing Medicare Health Insurance Claim Numbers (HICNs) with a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI). The MBI will be a randomly generated identifier that will not include a social security number or any personally identifiable information (PII). This step is being taken to minimize the risk of identity theft for Medicare beneficiaries and reduce opportunities for fraud.

Starting in early 2018, CMS will be required to issue new Medicare cards with an MBI to approximately 60 million Medicare beneficiaries. A HICN will still be assigned to each Medicare beneficiary and will still be used for internal data exchanges between CMS and the states, but the new MBI must be used in all interactions with the beneficiary, the provider community and all external partners.

If you are a current Medicare beneficiary or will become a beneficiary in the coming year, be on the lookout for these changes to your Medicare identification number. More information can be obtained from the Center for Medicare Services (CMS) or by viewing the CMS memo at this link:

https://www.medicaid.gov/federal-policy-guidance/downloads/CIB-05-05-16.pdf

If you are disabled and need to apply for disability benefits or appeal a Social Security denial, call Syfrett, Dykes & Furr at {F:P:Site:Phone}.

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