The Medicare Access and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015 requires CMS to remove Social Security Numbers (SSNs) from ALL Medicare cards by April 2019. In order to comply, CMS is currently in the process of implementing a new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) system for all beneficiaries, which will replace the SSN-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) present on all Medicare cards.
As of April 2018, CMS has begun the process of sending out and issuing new Medicare cards with the new MBI to all beneficiaries, and anticipates continuing through December 2019. The MBI will consist of 11 digits (xxxx-xxx-xxxx), both letters and numbers, and will have no connection to the beneficiary’s SSN/HICN. This should serve to assist in protecting seniors from fraud and Social Security theft.
Of interest for our purposes: CMS has specifically exempted all Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) processes from exclusive use of the MBI. Non-Group Health plan RREs (Responsible Reporting Entities) are permitted to continue to report for Section 111 mandatory insurer reporting using the full SSN, HICN, or MBI. When responding, however, CMS will utilize the MBI, where one has been assigned. In the electronic reporting system, all fields formerly labeled as “HICN” have been relabeled as “Medicare ID”.
CMS anticipates that by January 2020 HICNs will no longer be exchanged and only the MBI will be in use. However, the exemption for MSP use and reporting will remain in effect. Just know that regardless of how the claim is reported, the CMS/Medicare entity responding will respond utilizing the MBI, once assigned.
For further information, click here for the most recent NGHP User Guide, Chapter 1, p.4: Updates.
Atlas Settlement Group, Inc.
Medicare Compliance Services
3565 Piedmont Road NE
Building 1, Suite 525
Atlanta, GA 30305
Office: 404-926-4160 x215
Email: Natalie Clark
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