Ever wonder why the government tells you not to carry your Social  Security card, cautions you to protect your SSN, but then uses it on your Medicare card that you need to carry with you?  Well, finally the government is wondering that too and taking potential identity theft issues seriously by removing your SSN on your Medicare card.

Starting in April 2018 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will begin issuing new Medicare cards with new identifying numbers for all Medicare beneficiaries.  These identifying numbers will be known as MBI, or Medicare Beneficiary Identifiers.

New Medicare cards with the MBI will be issued to all currently active Medicare recipients and new beneficiaries between April 2018 and April 2019.  Deceased or archived Medicare beneficiaries will also receive new MBI numbers.  Your gender and the requirement for your signature will also be removed from the new cards containing the MBI numbers.

The CMS, all insurance providers, and related business partners that use your SSN for Medicare claims have a lot of system updates to do to accommodate the use of MBI.  Because of this, the CMS has a transition period beginning as early as April 1, 2018 through December 31, 2019 allowing providers to use either the beneficiary’s SSN or the MBI to process claims.

For more information on the CMS change to MBI, please see their website at: https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/SSNRI/index.html