In an effort to combat identity theft, the Federal Government has begun issuing new Medicare cards to all Medicare recipients. In 2015, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act required that the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) remove Social Security Numbers from Medicare cards by April 2019. The new cards will automatically be mailed out. Once you receive your new card, you should destroy your old card and begin using the new card.
The new cards remove your Social Security Number (“SSN”) from the cards and replace that with a new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) Number. The new numbers, which are 11 characters in length, are made up from a unique random combination of both numbers and letters. The MBI uses the numbers 0 through 9 and all the letters in the alphabet except S, L, O, I, B and Z, which are never used.
Be on the lookout for scams. Medicare will never call you uninvited and ask that you provide personal or private information to obtain a new Medicare Number or card. According to the Medicare website, as of June 25, 2018 mailing out of the new MDI Cards has been completed in both Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Mailing to residents of Ohio is expected to begin soon.
It is important to note that receiving a new MBI won’t change your Medicare benefits. You should begin using the new MDI as soon as you receive it when seeking medical care or treatment. The effective date on the new MBI is the same as the date on the old card, it is the date each beneficiary was or is eligible for Medicare.
If you have other coverage such as a Medicare Advantage Plan, Prescription Drug Plan or Medicaid, you new MBI Card does not replace the card that you use from your plan. You should still use your existing plan card when you receive medical care or prescription. However, you’ll need your new MBI Card if you want to join, leave, or switch to a different plan. You may also be asked to show your new MBI Card if you require hospital services.
Always remember, never give your new MBI to anyone other than your doctor, pharmacists, other health care providers, your insurer or people you trust to work with Medicare on your behalf.