Update Medicare Cards and Avoid Scams
Social Security Number Removal Initiative
The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015, requires the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to remove Social Security Numbers (SSNs) from all Medicare cards by April 2019.
A new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) will replace the SSN-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) on the new Medicare cards for Medicare transactions like billing, eligibility status, and claim status.
CMS currently uses an SSN-based HICN to identify people with Medicare and administer the program. They have used the HICN with their business partners:
- The Social Security Administration (SSA)
- The United States Railroad Retirement Board (RRB)
- State Medicaid Agencies
- Health care providers
- Health plans
Under the new system, for each person enrolled in Medicare, CMS will:
- Assign a new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI)
- Send a new Medicare card
Having your Social Security number removed from your Medicare card helps fight medical identity theft and protect your medical and financial information. But even with these changes, scammers will still look for ways to take what doesn’t belong to them.
Here are some ways to avoid Medicare scams:
- Is someone calling, claiming to be from Medicare, and asking for your Social Security number or bank information? Hang up. That’s a scam. First, Medicare won’t call you. Second, Medicare will never ask for your Social Security number or bank information.
- Is someone asking you to pay for your new card? That’s a scam. Your new Medicare card is free.
- Is someone threatening to cancel your benefits if you don’t give up information or money? Also a scam. New Medicare cards will be mailed out to you automatically. There won’t be any changes to your benefits.