New Medicare Beneficiary ID Cards

April 25, 2018

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has begun the process of issuing new beneficiary cards (MBI) and has started mailing April 2, 2018 and will continue to April, 2019. The new cards will be mailed by geographic areas in phases.

This change will GREATLY IMPACT YOUR REVENUE if office staff and patients are not educated about the change and how to obtain the new numbers.

The good news is that CMS waited until after the onslaught of deductibles has mostly passed before adding yet another issue.

The change to the new cards was mandated by the Medicare Access and Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) and requires CMS to remove beneficiaries Social Security Numbers from their cards.

At the same time, CMS made the following additional changes to the cards:

  • Removed the signature
  • Removed prefix/suffix on numbers
  • Card is paper
  • Explanations are in English and Spanish
  • Railroad Care is identified at the bottom of the card
  • The new identifier is made up of numbers and uppercase letters that have been randomly selected.

Those of us who service Medicare Beneficiaries expect a good deal of confusion over the change and the presentation by Beneficiaries of the new card at appointments.

In anticipation of this, CMS says the old number will be accepted on claims until December, 2019. Starting in October, 2018, remittance advices will show both the old and new numbers. This will allow administrative staff to update their systems with the new numbers in the event Beneficiary does not present with new card. There will also be a look-up system made available starting in June, 2018, so that claims for patients presenting without new cards can be filed timely once the MBI has been verified with CMS.

Facilities should verify with their billing software companies that the programs have the ability to accommodate the new, longer MBI’s and that carrier systems are prepared to honor the new numbers before you decide to use them.