The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) has released new information regarding the April 1, 2018 release of the New Medicare Card for Medicare Eligible Beneficiaries. The New Medicare Card is designed to do away with the old Social Security Number based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) and instead will use a new 11-character Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) number. The MBI will be a unique randomly assigned number.

The new cards will begin to be issued and mailed on April 1, 2018 and all existing cards should be replaced by April 2019.


What does this mean to you? What do you need to do?

You, your facility and business office staff need to implement an action plan NOW to ensure that you are ready and will have a smooth transition in April 2018. Your Action Plan at a minimum should include:


  • Notifying your residents, families and responsible parties of the change that is coming via:
    1. Including information in your Admissions Packet
    2. News Letter
    3. Posters
    4. Family Meetings
    5. Holding a Facility Social Gathering
  • Assisting your Long-Term Residents in contacting Social Security Administration to verify correct current address (CMS will be using these addresses to mail the new cards).
  • Contacting the Billing Software Company you use (PCC, AHT, Matrix, etc.).
    1. Have they started process to update their system?
    2. Do they have scheduled training sessions available?
    3. Will Update be ready and rolled out on time?
  • Updating Policy and Procedures for Admissions and Business Office Staff.
    1. Insure that they are ready for transition
    2. Ask for new Medicare Card (Get Copies upon admission)
    3. Know how to do Eligibility Checks using new MBI Number
  • Signing up on website to receive the Weekly MLN Connects® News Letter
    1. CMS provides updates regarding the New Medicare Cards through the news letter

CMS has already released that there will be a 21 Month transition period from April 1, 2018 through Dec. 31, 2019. During this transition period:

  • Claims can be billed using either the HICN or new MBI number.
  • Remits will show both the HICN and the new MBI number.
    1. New MBI number will be found in the “Changed HICN” field on the remit
  • If HICN is used to do Eligibility Verification it will not return the New MBI number.

NOTE: Individuals who become eligible for Medicare Benefits on April 1, 2018 and after will be assigned MBI Number Only (no HICNs). This makes it absolutely necessary for you and your facility to:

  • Ask for New Medicare Card upon Admission (make a copy)
  • Have updated billing software in place and working on April 1, 2018

The never-ending cycle of changes to the Medicare System continues and as Providers we need to stay informed, ready to handle the changes. By being preemptive and taking action now you will greatly reduce your headaches and stress prior to the implementation of this change. By actively including your residents or their responsible parties and families and informing them about the changes to come, you assist them in preparing for these changes, and demonstrate how important they are to all involved. All of this preparation will benefit you in filing clean accurate claims, receiving your payments timely and protecting your monthly cash flow. Good Luck! And check back for future Blogs about the….


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