The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is going to issue new Medicare cards, replacing beneficiaries’ Social Security numbers with unique ID numbers, by April 2019. However, the Health & Human Services Advisory Panel on Outreach and Educations says CMS isn’t doing enough to share more about the process with healthcare providers, who will have to make significant changes in their billing practices as the new ID card system is implemented gradually; CMS will start distributing the cards in April 2018, so it’s going to take a full year before the entire Medicare population to have the same type of ID once the process starts. The panel, which is made up of healthcare providers, health plans and healthy policy experts, thinks CMS should start reaching out to providers in the coming weeks to ensure practices have ample time to update their EHR systems. Doctors who don’t update their EHR systems to accept the new ID numbers could lose their ability to bill Medicare once the old ID numbers are completely phased out in 2020.
Panel: CMS Not Doing Enough to Inform Physicians of Changes to Medicare Cards