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PA Enrollees to Begin Receiving New Medicare Cards

April 02, 2018

Starting this May, Medicare enrollees in Pennsylvania will be among the first to receive their new Medicare cards using unique, 11-character Medicare Beneficiary Identifiers (MBI) to replace the previous Health Insurance Claim Numbers (HICN) based on Social Security Numbers. CMS has posted a depiction of the new card’s format.

From May 2018 thorugh June 2018, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is scheduled to mail the new cards to Medicare enrollees in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and several other states. As of April 2018, newly eligible seniors nationwide will receive the new cards.

The new identification system is designed to combat identify theft. Incidents of identity theft among seniors have increased nearly 25 percent, form 2.1 million during 2012 to 2.6 million during 2014. 

What the New Cards Mean for Medicare Enrollees

Only the cards are changing. Benefits stay the same.

The new cards will be automatically mailed. Enrollees who need to update their current address should visit their mySocialSecurity account to do so.

After receiving their new cards, enrollees should destroy their old ones. 

In addition to safeguarding their new Medicare cards, enrollees in Medicare Advantage Plans should keep their plan ID cards. These plan ID cards will remain the main ID cards used to access Medicare benefits and services. 

What the New Cards Mean for Providers

Starting today, systems used by Pennsylvania providers and their vendors for transactions such as billing, eligibility status, and claim status should be ready to use the new MBIs. 

CMS will allow for a 21-month transition period during which providers may use either the HICN or the MBI for claims. The transition period will begin no earlier than April 1, 2018, and will extend through December 31, 2019.

During the transition period, CMS will monitor:

  • The use of HICNs and MBIs to see how many providers are ready to use only MBIs by January 2020
  • The transition and adjustment to the new MBIs, to make sure of their wide-spread adoption so Medicare operations aren’t interrupted

Starting January 1, 2020, providers must submit claims using MBIs (with a few exceptions), regardless of the date of the health care service. The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015 requires CMS to remove Social Security Numbers from Medicare cards by April 2019.

Please contact Jolene Calla, HAP’s vice president, health care finance and insurance, with questions about the new Medicare cards.

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