The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services launched a new initiative to remove Social Security numbers from Medicare cards. The process strives to prevent fraud, fight identity theft and protect program funding and the private healthcare and financial information of Medicare beneficiaries.
CMS will begin issuing new cards with a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI), a randomly assigned number, to replace the patient's Social Security number. Medicare beneficiaries will receive the new cards beginning in April 2018, with all new cards distributed by April 2019. To ease the transition, CMS is developing the ability for practices to search the new MBI through a secure tool at the point of service. CMS is also setting a 21-month transition period where healthcare providers can use either the MBI or current number for billing purposes.