The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has completed mailing new cards to the 61 million people covered by Medicare in the U.S., each with their own unique, randomly assigned Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI). The old cards were based on each person’s Social Security number, the widespread access to which left individuals open to identity theft. When the plan was rolled out to the public last April, CMS said it would take a year for all the cards to get out to Medicare enrollees, but the agency was able to finish the process in 9 months. So far there have been no hiccups in implementation or use of the cards; more than half of the healthcare claims currently in CMS’s system reflect the new MBIs. If patients present to your urgent care center with their old cards or claim they never received the new MBI-based card, staff can direct them to call 1-800-MEDICARE for assistance. Providers also have the option of looking up the Medicare number through a secure portal, according to CMS. Patients are being advised to destroy their old Medicare cards.
Update: CMS Wraps Up New Medicare Card Program Ahead of Schedule