Insurance News:

Social Security Number Removal Initiative

by CMS.gov | 10/4/2016 8:41:28 AM

The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) requires CMS to remove Social Security Numbers (SSNs) from all Medicare cards by April 2019. A new randomly generated Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) will replace the SSN-based Health Insurance Claim Number on new Medicare cards for transactions like billing, eligibility status, and claim status.

It’s time to look at your practice management systems and business processes and determine what changes you need to make to use the new MBI.

What’s the Social Security Number Removal Initiative (SSNRI)?

The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015, requires us to remove Social Security Numbers (SSNs) from all Medicare cards by April 2019. A new randomly generated 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.

We currently use an SSN-based HICN to identify people with Medicare and administer the program. We’ve used the HICN with our 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, we’ll:

  • Assign a new MBI
  • Send a new Medicare card

The MBI is confidential like the SSN and should be protected as Personally Identifiable Information.

Why’s the SSNRI important?

By replacing the SSN-based HICN on all Medicare cards, we can better protect:

  • Private health care and financial information
  • Federal health care benefit and service payments

What’s the SSNRI timeline & what does it mean for me?

Getting started

Moving to new Medicare numbers and cards requires a lot of changes to our systems and how we do business. The same is true for you -- our business partners.

We’ve already started this work and want to help you shift to the new MBIs by April 2018. No earlier than April 2018, we’ll start sending the new Medicare cards with the MBI to all people with Medicare.

Transition period

We plan to have a transition period where you can use either the HICN or the MBI to exchange data with us. The transition period will begin no earlier than April 1, 2018 and run through December 31, 2019.

How will the MBI look?

The MBI will be:

  • Clearly different than the HICN and RRB number
  • 11-characters in length
  • Made up only of numbers and uppercase letters (no special characters)

Use our MBI Format specifications to make changes to your systems.

What does the SSNRI mean for people with Medicare?

The MBI won’t change Medicare benefits. People with Medicare may start using their new Medicare cards and MBIs as soon as they get them.

Where can I get more information about the SSNRI?

Please checkb this wepage frequently for updates. In the future, we’ll also post outreach and education materials all of our partners can use with people who have Medicare.

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