The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ plan to transition from a Social Security number-based ID system to a randomly generated identifier is moving forward. The agency won’t start mailing new cards until April 2018, and the whole process will take nearly 2 years to complete, but in the meantime CMS is rolling out a provider- and patient-awareness campaign to assure the transition is as smooth as possible. The new Medicare beneficiary identifier (MBI) will be the only patient ID recognized after the transition is complete in April 2019. The idea is to make it harder for identify thieves to target senior citizens. The Department of Justice reports that identity theft involving people 65 and older rose 24% (up to 2.6 million cases) between 2012 and 2014. Urgent care operators should start planning on how they will incorporate the switchover into their own processes now.
Be Advised: Medicare ID Card Changes Are Moving Forward