CMS Begins Replacing All Medicare Cards

Group retirees are rightfully concerned about safeguarding their personal information. So your clients' retirees will likely be relieved to know that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has begun removing Social Security Numbers (SSNs) from all Medicare cards in an effort to combat identity theft and safeguard taxpayer dollars.

The new Medicare cards use a unique, randomly assigned number called a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI), to replace the Social Security-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) currently used on the Medicare card.

The MBI is confidential, like the SSN, and should be protected as Personally Identifiable Information.

By replacing the SSN-based HICN on all Medicare cards, CMS will better protect:

  • Private healthcare and financial information
  • Federal healthcare benefit and service payments

New Medicare cards with the MBI are currently being mailed to all people with Medicare in phases by geographic location. CMS began mailing new cards last April to meet the congressional deadline for replacing all Medicare cards by April 2019. In the meantime, either card is valid to use until the deadline—useful to know when helping your clients' retirees enroll in your company’s Medicare plan offering(s).

For more information, please visit the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services site.