No More Social Security Numbers on Medicare Cards

Post Date:March 12, 2018

New Medicare Cards

by Cheryl McCarthy

CMS will begin releasing new Medicare cards to beneficiaries starting next month, eliminating the Social Security Number from the card and lessening the risks of identity theft. This change will impact everyone who has a Medicare card! The existing Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN), based on Social Security Numbers, will be replaced with a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI), a randomly assigned alpha-numeric unique number. All cards will be replaced by April 2019, if everything goes according to plan. There will be a 21-month transition period for provider systems to be updated between April 2018 and December 2019.

A new MBI card will be mailed to each Medicare beneficiary. The mailings will be staggered throughout the year so a beneficiary may receive his or her card at a different time than a spouse, friend or neighbor. Distribution of the new cards will take some time. Every new card will have a new number but this does not change the Medicare benefits. Medicare Advantage beneficiaries should keep using their plan card as they do today. 

CMS will never ask beneficiaries for their personal information; they have more information than they need. Your clients should be wary of anyone who contacts them about the new ID card. The one thing your insured will want to do is to make certain Medicare has their current mailing address. Address changes should be reported through Social Security. Go to to update.

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