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Transition to New Medicare Numbers & Cards

Transition to New Medicare Numbers and Cards

The law requires the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to remove Social Security Numbers (SSNs) from all Medicare cards by April 2019. 

Starting in April 2018 CMS will start mailing the new Medicare cards, at check-in staff should ask your Medicare patients if they have a new card with the new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI). April 1, 2018 through December 31, 2019 you can use either the Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) or the new MBI number. Patients who qualify for Medicare under the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) will also be issued with a new MBI. There will be a RRB logo in the upper left corner and “Railroad Retirement Board” at the bottom. You can no longer tell from looking at the MBI if your patients are eligible for Medicare because they’re railroad retirees. 

Important facts for providers and staff to know:  

The MBI will contain letters and numbers. Here’s an example: 1EG4-TE5-MK73

  • The MBI’s 2nd, 5th, 8th, and 9th characters will always be a letter
  • Characters 1, 4, 7, 10, and 11 will always be a number
  • The 3rd and 6th characters will be a letter or a number 

The dashes aren’t used as part of the MBI. They won’t be entered into computer systems or used in file formats.  

Each MBI is randomly generated. This makes MBIs different than HICNs, which are based on the SSNs of people with Medicare. The MBI’s characters are “non-intelligent” so they don’t have any hidden or special meaning.  

More information can be found in the CMS MLN Fact Sheet for 
“Transition to New Medicare Numbers and Cards”

Missouri Medicaid will also have the same transition dates for using both numbers. Check with your state on transition dates.

Linda Terbrak Robertson, Director of Billing