New Medicare Card: Transition Period Ends in Less Than 5 Months

Members, please pay close attention if you are a Medicare provider. All new Medicare cards have been mailed. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is encouraging providers to use Medicare Beneficiary Identifiers (MBIs) NOW to protect patients’ identities as providers must use MBIs beginning January 1, 2020. Providers claims will get rejected if they submit with Health Insurance Claim Numbers (HCINs) after January 1, 2020. Even for services provided before this date (January 1, 2020), you must use MBIs if you submit the claim after December 31, 2019.

Why did this change occur? The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) required CMS to remove Social Security Numbers (SSN)  from all Medicare cards by April 2019. CMS replaced the SSN-based HICN with a new, randomly generated MBI. The new MBI is noticeably different than the HICN.  The new cards without SSNs offer better identity protection. Help protect your patients’ personal identities by getting their MBIs and using them for Medicare business, including claims submission and eligibility transactions.
There are 3 ways you and your office staff can get MBIs:

1. Ask your Medicare patients – Ask your Medicare patients for their new Medicare cards when care is provided. If they didn’t get a new card, give them the
Get Your New Medicare Card flyer in English or Spanish.

2. Use your MAC’s secure MBI look-up tool – You can look up MBIs for your Medicare patients when they don’t or can’t give them. Sign up for
the Portal to use the tool. You can use this tool even after the end of the transition period – the tool doesn’t end on December 31, 2019. Even if your patients are in a Medicare Advantage (MA) Plan, you can look up their MBIs to bill for things like indirect medical education.

You must have your patient’s SSN for the search and it may differ from the HICN, which uses the SSN of the primary wage earner. If your Medicare patient doesn’t want to give the SSN, tell your patient to log into mymedicare.gov to get the MBI. If the look-up tool returns a last name matching error and the beneficiary’s last name includes a suffix, such as Jr. Sr. or III, try searching without and with the suffix as part of the last name.
3. Check the remittance advice – CMS will also return the MBI on every remittance advice when you submit claims with valid and active HICNs through December 31, 2019. Get the MBI from the remittance advice and save it in your systems to use with your next Medicare transaction.
Source: Sarah Mills | tahch.org