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New ID Numbers for All Medicare Beneficiaries

Written by: Kimberly Commito on Wednesday, July 5, 2017 Posted in: HME/DME, Home Infusion, Specialty Pharmacy

How will the updated identification system affect your claims processing?

With the goal of addressing medical identity theft among Medicare beneficiaries, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015 requires Medicare to remove social security numbers (SSN) from all Medicare cards by April 2019. This effort, called the Social Security Number Removal Initiative (SSNRI), means new cards with new numbers for all of the nearly 60 million Medicare beneficiaries.

Ensure compliance with CareTend software!

According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the cards will be issued starting no earlier than April 2018. Each card will contain a new Medicare beneficiary identifier (MBI) rather than the SSN-based health insurance claim number (HICN). The MBI will be used for Medicare transactions such as billing, eligibility status, and claim status.

The new cards will be provided at no cost to beneficiaries, but scammers have already begun to try to convince patients otherwise. Therefore, it’s wise to make your Medicare recipients aware that they don’t need to do or pay anything to get their new cards.

Because the process of mailing cards will start a year in advance of the deadline and be completed in phases, it’s likely that some of your patients will have the new cards while others will continue to use the old cards. Therefore, Medicare is planning a transition period during which patients and care providers can use either the beneficiary’s HICN or MBI. CMS says the transition period will begin “no earlier than April 1, 2018 and run through Dec. 31, 2019.”

During this time, your systems will need to be able to accommodate either number. At the end of the transition period, which will be January 1, 2020, MBIs will be required (although there are a few exceptions).

If you are using an agile software system such as CareTend, which is updated regularly to accommodate changing requirements, your system will be ready to accept MBIs by the April 2018 start of the transition period. If you don’t have CareTend, learn about how this innovative software application can help you be ready for whatever changes may be in store.

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