February 5, 2018

CMS Announces First States where Beneficiaries Will Receive New Medicare Cards

As discussed in Sibson Consulting’s August 2, 2017 Update, to combat identity theft, fraud and the illegal use of Social Security numbers, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will remove Social Security numbers from all Medicare identification cards by April 2019. The current Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN), which is based on a beneficiary's Social Security number, will be replaced by a new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI). CMS refers to this initiative as the Social Security Number Removal Initiative (SSNRI).

CMS has now announced the first states, including the District of Columbia and territories, where beneficiaries will receive new Medicare cards with new ID numbers from April to June 2018. These states are divided into two groups that CMS refers to as “waves”:

  • Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia are in the first wave.
  • The second wave consists of jurisdictions located in or bordering the Pacific Ocean: Alaska, American Samoa, California, Guam, Hawaii, Northern Mariana Islands and Oregon.

CMS notes Medicare beneficiaries in the rest of the states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands will receive their new cards “after June 2018.” Although the time frame has not yet been determined, all remaining jurisdictions have been placed in one of five additional waves. For details, see the CMS announcement.

For a visual summary of the SSNRI, see Sibson’s infographic Removal of Social Security Numbers from Medicare Beneficiary Cards on the Horizon: Change Will Have Implications for Group Health Plans.

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