|Cheryl Sands Executive Vice President
To help fight identity theft and safeguard taxpayer dollars, CMS is removing Social Security Numbers from Medicare cards. We must be ready by April 2018 for the change from the Social Security Number based Health Insurance Claim Number to the new randomly generated Medicare
Beneficiary identifier (aka New Medicare number.)Starting April 2018, CMS will begin mailing new Medicare cards.The mailings will be staggered throughout the year with completion expected by April 2019.We can begin using the numbers as early as April 2018 when the first cards arrive.
The new id numbers will be 11 characters long and utilize only numbers and uppercase letters. (No special characters)
Be sure to start asking your patients for their new Medicare card. Get in the habit of asking every time if anything has changed and if you can see their new Medicare card. Your patients should be aware that this is happening so they will not be confused, and the more you talk about it with them, the better.
Rest assured, on our end SMB Medical Billing is already actively testing with our claims clearinghouse and with our software product to make sure we are ready for these changes that are coming.
This does not have to be a confusing time as long as we are proactive and keep the lines of communication open. Since it's always vital to ask your patients to see their insurance cards, this will be a natural easy way to catch the new id numbers.
Here is the home page at CMS that talks about the Medicare id number change https://www.cms.gov/medicare/new-medicare-card/nmc-home.html. Keep this site bookmarked as well as this one https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/New-Medicare-Card/New-Medicare-Card-Messaging-Guidelines-July-2017.pdf this will help you answer any questions your patients' might have.