California to begin receiving new Medicare cards in May

April 05, 2018
Area(s) of Interest: Practice Management 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) began mailing new identification cards to Medicare beneficiaries this month, as required under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). The new cards contain a unique, randomly assigned Medicare Beneficiary Identification (MBI) number that will replace the current SSN-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN). The new MBI will also be used for Medicare transactions like billing, and eligibility and claim status checks.

The first wave of cards mailed this month will be to newly-enrolled Medicare beneficiaries. Beginning in May 2018, existing Medicare beneficiaries in California should start receiving their new cards.

CMS will allow a 21-month transition period beginning April 2018, where health care providers will be able to use either the patient’s current Medicare number or the patient’s new MBI number.

CMS has developed a web page to help physicians navigate the transition to the new MBI number, including slides from the most recent CMS Open Door Forum on the transition. Physicians will be able to look up their Medicare patients’ new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier through Noridian, the Medicare Administrative Contractor’s secure web portal starting in June 2018. Physicians should also talk to their practice managers and health IT vendors now to ensure their systems will be ready to accept the MBI.

New Medicare card: Video for your waiting room

To help inform Medicare patients the new Medicare Cards are coming, CMS has created a video for your waiting room. The video tells patients when and how they will receive the new card.

For more information, please visit www.cms.gov/newcard.


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