Medicare numbers are now in the process of being replaced. Member’s current HICN will be replaced with an alphanumeric combination called the Medicare Beneficiary Number (MBI). MBIs will be randomly generated and will not have any relationship to Social Security Numbers.
The change is a continued push by CMS and the federal government to help combat identity theft. Medicare beneficiaries began to receive their new numbers in April 2018. By April 2019, all Medicare beneficiaries should have received their new cards for use. Software providers and the FISS DDE system have all been updated to accept the new MBIs.
MBIs will not only contain numbers and letters, the length of the beneficiary’s number will also increase to 11 characters. Not all beneficiaries will have 11 character MBIs but some will as part of the random generation of IDs.
Characters Used: Numbers and Upper-Case Letters. Numbers from 0 – 9 will be used along with letters A – Z. However, the letters, S, L, O, I, B, and Z will not be used in any MBIs to avoid confusion and make the cards easier to read. Hospices will need to be aware of these nuances when checking eligibility.
CMS has organized states by waves with the first two batches of cards mailed in May. The second set of batches will occur this month and continue to go until all states have been reached. Providers should begin to expect to see the cards in the Mid-Atlantic region, the west coast as these two regions are part of the first wave. The time-line provided by CMS isn’t detailed when other regions should be on the lookout for the new cards except to expect the cards after June 2018.
Example of MBI IDs: 1EG4 – TE5 – MK73
Formatting Tips to Remember:
-The 2nd, 5th, 8th, and 9th characters will always be a letter.
-Characters 1, 4, 7, 10 and 11 will always be a number.
-Characters 3 and 6 will be a number or letter.
-Dashes will not be used when entering the ID into systems or on forms.
C = Numeric Characters 1 – 9
N = Numeric Characters 0 – 9
AN = Either A or N
A = Alphabetic Letter A – Z (Except S, L, O, I, B, and Z)
A Social Security Number will not be sufficient for eligibility verification or processing claims after April 2019.