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New Medicare Cards: Prepare Now to Ensure Smooth Transition (Psst: Be Ready by April)
Posted on: 2/23/2018


Starting next month, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will begin to flood the postal mail system with 60 million new beneficiary Medicare cards.

The new Medicare card was developed to remove the Social Security numbers from Medicare cards to help curb identity theft.

Instead of the Social Security number-based identifier, known as the Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN), the new cards will have a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI).

Practices must be prepared to use the MBI starting April 2018.

New card mailings will be staggered and sent in the coming months. CMS will accept both HICNs and MBIs on Medicare transactions during a transition period from April 1, 2018, to Dec. 31, 2019. But starting Jan. 1, 2020, CMS will only accept the MBI.  

What else is new about the Medicare card? 

  • No signature will be required.
  • Gender will not be identified on the card.
  • The cards will be unique to each beneficiary (for example, spouses will each have their own MBI).
  • While the MBI will present with dashes on the card for readability, those dashes should not be included as part of the MBI.

CMS offers flyers, posters and tear-offs to help educate your patients – available in seven languages!

For more information, access CMS’ New Medicare Card website.

You may also contact ISMS’ advocacy team with questions by calling 800-782-4767 ext. 1470, or by sending an email

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