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CMS completes issuance of new Medicare ID cards

January 16, 2019
Area(s) of Interest: Practice Management MACRA Public Payors 


The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has now completed the process of mailing new Medicare cards to beneficiaries across all states and territories. The new Medicare ID cards, required under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), contain a unique, randomly assigned Medicare Beneficiary Identification (MBI) number, which replaces the previous Social Security-based number.

CMS also reports that for the week ending January 11, 2019, fee-for-service health care providers submitted 58 percent of claims with the new MBIs. 

CMS is allowing a 21-month transition period (which began in April 2018), during which health care providers will be able to use either the patient’s current Medicare number or the patient’s new Medicare number for all Medicare transactions. The transition period will end December 31, 2019. While providers can continue submitting claims with the old ID numbers during the transition period, physicians are encouraged to use the new MBIs as soon as possible for all Medicare transactions. 

CMS has developed a webpage to help physicians navigate the MBI transition, including slides from the most recent CMS Open Door Forum on the issue. Physicians are also now able to look up their Medicare patients’ new Medicare numbers through Noridian, the Medicare Administrative Contractor’s, secure web portal. Physicians should also talk to their practice managers and health IT vendors now to ensure their systems are ready to accept the MBI.

If your Medicare patients say they did not get a card, instruct them to:

  • Sign into MyMedicare.gov to get their new numbers or print official cards. They need to create an account if they do not already have one.
  • Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) to get their new cards.  
  • Continue to use their current cards to get health care services. They can use their old cards until December 31, 2019.

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

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