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CMS to switch Social Security numbers with new Medicare identifier

March 14, 2017 The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will replace Social Security numbers on Medicare beneficiary cards with what are called member beneficiary identifiers.
In April 2018, CMS will start mailing new Medicare cards with MBIs to people with Medicare. Then, in October 2018, when dentists submit a claim using their patients' health insurance claim number, CMS will return both the HICN and the MBI on every remittance advice.

According to the CMS website, the agency is planning wide-scale outreach to help beneficiaries know they need to bring their new Medicare cards and share them when they get medical care, as well as teaching beneficiaries ways to get their MBIs if they've lost their Medicare cards.

The website advises dentists to remind patients to bring their new Medicare cards to their appointments.

The new policy "is consistent with our policies to reduce medical identity theft," the website says.

CMS has more information for health care providers about the transition.