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Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to commence transition to new Medicare cards

October 10, 2017

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services mailed letters Oct. 5 to all fee-for-service Medicare providers about its work to assign new numbers — known as Medicare beneficiary identifiers or MBIs — and issue new Medicare cards to all people with Medicare commencing in April 2018.

The new Medicare card contains a unique, randomly assigned number that will replace the current Social Security number-based Medicare card number.

“The goal of the initiative to remove Social Security numbers from Medicare cards is to help prevent fraud, combat identify theft and safeguard taxpayer dollars,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma in a news release.

In the release, CMS said its top priorities are to make sure Medicare patients have continued access to care and that providers have the tools and information needed for a smooth transition.

People with Medicare will receive a new Medicare card in the mail and will be instructed to safely and securely destroy their current Medicare card and keep their new Medicare number confidential. Issuance of the new number will not change benefits that people with Medicare receive. 

There will be a transition period, running through Dec. 31, 2019, where health care providers and suppliers will be able to use either the current Social Security number-based Medicare number or the new, unique Medicare number.

For more information, visit cms.gov/newcard.