Cards will no longer contain Social Security numbers, to combat fraud and illegal use.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is readying a fraud prevention initiative that removes Social Security numbers from Medicare cards to help combat identity theft, and safeguard taxpayer dollars. The new cards will use a unique, randomly- assigned number called a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI), to replace the Social Security-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) currently used on the Medicare card. CMS will begin mailing new cards in April 2018 and will meet the congressional deadline for replacing all Medicare cards by April 2019. CMS also kicks-off a multi-faceted outreach campaign to help providers get ready for the new MBI.
“We’re taking this step to protect our seniors from fraudulent use of Social Security numbers which can lead to identity theft and illegal use of Medicare benefits,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “We want to be sure that Medicare beneficiaries and healthcare providers know about these changes well in advance and have the information they need to make a seamless transition.”
CMS testified on Tuesday, May 23rd, before the U.S. House Committee on Ways & Means Subcommittee on Social Security, and the U.S. House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform Subcommittee on Information Technology, addressing CMS’s comprehensive plan for the removal of Social Security numbers and transition to MBIs.