The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) started a fraud prevention initiative for 2018. By removing social security numbers from a beneficiary’s Medicare ID card and assigning a random number, the organization hopes to dramatically reduce the amount of fraud that takes place each year.
What is MBI?
The CMS calls the new cards Medicare Beneficiary Identification cards, or MBI, and will begin mailing the new cards in April 2018 with the goal of replacing all cards by April 2019. A 21-month transition period, ending Jan. 1, 2020, will be in place starting in April. Until then, to submit insurance billing, providers can use either:
- MBI numbers – on the new cards
- Social security numbers – on current cards
to ease the transition to the new cards. Providers and beneficiaries can use a secure lookup tool for quick access to the new MBI numbers, if needed. The new cards still have coverage information for Part A and Part B; the only change is that social security numbers have been replaced with new random identification numbers assigned to each new MBI card.
Providers obtain copies of a patients’ new Medicare ID card the next time the patient is in the office, and make sure to update your practice management system with new Medicare ID card numbers. In addition, begin using the new MBI numbers to bill insurers immediately, as this will give you time during the transition period to ensure the system accepts the numbers, and there are no issues with reimbursement or how it is being processed.
As a reminder, after the transition period ending January 1, 2020, providers will only be able to use the MBI numbers. For more information, go to www.cms.gov/newcard.