Changes are coming to your Medicare card. By April 2019, your card will be replaced with one that no longer shows your Social Security number.
Instead, your card will have a new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) that will be used for billing and for checking your eligibility and claim status. And it will all happen automatically – you won’t have to pay anyone or give anyone information, no matter what someone might tell you.
CMS will use an MBI generator to:
*Assign 150 million MBI’s in the initial enumeration (60 million active and 90 million decease/archived) and generate a unique MBI for each new Medicare beneficiary
*Generate a new unique MBI for a Medicare beneficiary whose identity has been compromised
The Medicare Beneficiary Identifier will have the following characteristics:
- The same number of characters as the current Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) (11), but will be visibly distinguishable from the HICN”
- Contain uppercase alphabetic and numeric characters throughout the 11 digit identifier
- Occupy the same field as the HICN on transactions
- Be unique to each beneficiary (e.g. husband and wife will have their own MBI)
- Be easy to read and limit the possibility of letters being interpreted as numbers (e.g. Alphabetic characters are upper case only and will exclude S, L, O, I, B, Z)
CMS established a transition period during which the HICN or MBI will be accepted from providers, beneficiaries, plans, and other external stakeholders. CMS expects the transition period to run from April 2018 through December 31, 2019.