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Gainesville Florida Estate Planning & Elder Law Blog

Monday, October 17, 2016

New Medicare ID Numbers on the Way

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is preparing for federally mandated changes in how it identifies Medicare patients.

The change, scheduled to go into effect April 2018, will result in replacing the current ID numbers for Medicare beneficiaries – approximately 60 million people. The plan calls for CMS to begin issuing new identification cards. ID numbers on the current cards, which include Social Security numbers, will be replaced with an 11-digit alpha-numeric code – a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI).

The change is a result of a provision in the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA). That law requires CMS to remove the Social Security number from Medicare cards in order to prevent medical identity theft.

Using the new MBI will bring with it significant changes to the healthcare industry, starting with medical practices that treat Medicare patients. These medical practices will need to upgrade to new practice management software. Additionally, Medicare beneficiaries need to be aware of the new cards and any issues they may have on secondary insurance.

While the change does not go into effect until 2018, the scope of the effort is significant. Providers are being urged to being to prepare for these changes as soon as possible.


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