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Getting MBIs


How do health care providers & office managers get patients' MBIs?

We're doing widespread beneficiary outreach that'll help beneficiaries know they need to bring their new Medicare cards and share them when they get medical care. We’re also teaching beneficiaries, including those enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, how to get their MBIs if they've lost their Medicare cards.

In April 2018, people with Medicare will be able to look up their new MBI numbers and in June 2018, providers will also be able to look up their patients’ new MBI numbers through secure web interfaces that will support quick access to the MBI.

We recently asked our Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) to mail letters to all Medicare Fee-For-Service providers.  Your letter will tell you about the new Medicare card project and how to use your MAC’s secure portal so that in June 2018, if we’ve already mailed a new card, you’ll be able look up MBIs for your Medicare patients who don’t have their new cards when they come for care. You can use your MAC’s portal to look up any Medicare patient’s MBI, regardless of where the patient lives. You can use this tool even after the end of the transition period – it doesn’t end on December 31, 2019. Carefully read your letter (here’s a sample) and the Medicare Learning Network (MLN) print-friendly fact sheet to learn more about how to use the MBIs.

Starting in October 2018, through the transition period, when you submit a claim using your patient’s valid and active HICN, we’ll return both the HICN and the MBI on every remittance advice. The MBI will be in the same place you currently get the “changed HICN”:

 835 Loop 2100, Segment NM1 (Corrected Patient/Insured Name), Field NM109 (Identification Code)

If you submit a claim using your patient’s MBI, this field will be blank.

Medicare remittance advice examples

Medicare Remit Easy Print (MREP) (for Medicare Part B providers & suppliers)

We give free MREP software so you can see and print remittance advice information.

Starting October 1, 2018, we’ll update MREP so it also gives you the MBI when you submit a claim with a valid and active HICN. We’re changing the current MREP Remittance Advice HICN label to Medicare ID (MID) and adding a new MID label and field that will show the MBI number that’s in the ASC X12N 835:

                       Loop 2100, NM109 of the Corrected Patient/Insured Name Segment 

Here’s an MREP example.

PC Print (for Medicare Part A providers & facilities)

Your MAC can give you access to free PC Print software so you can see and print remittance advice information. 

Starting October 1, 2018, we’ll update PC Print so it also gives you the MBI when you submit a claim with a valid and active HICN. We’re changing the current PC

Print Remittance Advice HICN label to Medicare ID (MID) and adding a new MID Corrected (MID COR) label and field which will show the MBI in the ASC X12N 835:

Loop 2100, NM109 of the Corrected Patient Name Segment

Here’s a PC Print example.

Standard Paper Remits (SPRs)

Starting October 1, 2018, we’ll update the SPRs so it also gives you the MBI when you submit a claim with a valid and active HICN. Here are SPR examples:

FISS (Medicare Part A/Institutional)

MCS (Medicare Part B/Professional)

VMS (DMEPOS)

Don’t forget that if you submit claims electronically, you’ll get an Electronic Remittance Advice (ERA). You can also see and print the ERA through MREP and PC Print.

In April 2018, people with Medicare will be able to look up their new MBI numbers and in June 2018, providers will also be able to look up their patients’ new MBI numbers through secure web interfaces that will support quick access to the MBI.

We recently asked our Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) to mail letters to all Medicare Fee-For-Service providers.  Your letter will tell you about the new Medicare card project and how to use your MAC’s secure portal so that in June 2018, if we’ve already mailed a new card, you’ll be able look up MBIs for your Medicare patients who don’t have their new cards when they come for care. You can use your MAC’s portal to look up any Medicare patient’s MBI, regardless of where the patient lives. You can use this tool even after the end of the transition period – it doesn’t end on December 31, 2019. Carefully read your letter (here’s a sample) and the print-friendly fact sheet to learn more about how to get ready to use the MBIs by April 2018.

How you can help your patients

You can remind your patients to bring their new Medicare cards to their appointments. We’re creating information for you to give to your patients to remind them to bring their cards with them. 

When people with Medicare get their new Medicare cards, they should destroy their old red, white, and blue Original Medicare cards, but they should KEEP their:

  • Social Security cards.
  • Medicare Advantage plan cards.
  • Medicare drug plan cards.  

Anyone with Medicare who belongs to a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medicare drug plan (Part D) should keep using their Medicare Advantage and/or Medicare drug plan cards like they always have when they get health care services or fill a prescription.

In the meantime, if the address you have on file is different than the address you get in electronic eligibility transaction responses, ask your patients to correct their address in Medicare’s records by contacting the Social Security Administration. This may require coordination between your billing and office staff. Give your patients a tear-off sheet in English or Spanish to remind them to check their addresses.

Display the New Medicare Card poster in English or Spanish in your office to tell your patients their new cards and new numbers are coming. You can also check our new Medicare card Outreach & education page to get information for you and resources you can use when you talk to people with Medicare about the new Medicare cards.

Eligibility transaction responses

Beginning in April 2018, through the end of the transition period, if you submit a HICN on the 270 eligibility transaction request, we’ll tell you in the message field on the 271 response when we’ve mailed a new Medicare card to each individual with fee-for-service Medicare. The message will say, "CMS mailed a Medicare card with a new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) to this beneficiary. Medicare providers, please get the new MBI from your patient and save it in your system(s)." 

271 Loop 2110C, Segment MSG

Your eligibility service provider can give you this information. Beginning on January 1, 2020, you must use the MBI to get a valid response.

Also, beginning in April 2018 through the end of the transition period, you can submit either a HICN or MBI through the Common Working File (CWF) for eligibility transaction requests. We’re aligning all primary eligibility search criteria when you submit an eligibility request with the MBI, regardless of the system you use to request information, as required by the X12 standard.

Beginning on January 1, 2020, you must use the MBI to get a valid response.

We won’t send you the MBI in eligibility transaction responses when you give us a HICN. We’re aware some providers find the HICN by using a combination of the Social Security Number and Beneficiary Identification Code until they find a match; returning the MBI when providers submit a HICN gives a higher risk of medical identity theft. Therefore, beginning in October 2018, through the transition period, we’ll also return the MBI only through the remittance advice in the same place you get the “changed HICN”, “Corrected Patient/Insured Name, Identification Code” field, for all claims you submit with a valid and active HICN. This is consistent with our policies to reduce medical identity theft. 

Using the anti-fraud authorities provided in the Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148 and P.L. 111-152) and the Small Business Jobs Act (SBJA) of 2010 (P.L. 111-240), we're protecting taxpayer dollars and beneficiary access to necessary health care services while reducing burden on legitimate providers and suppliers. We have sophisticated predictive analytics technology that uses claims data to prevent and detect fraud, waste, and abuse in the Medicare Fee-for-Service (FFS) program. Also, we continually review and revise claims edits to reject or deny claims that are not payable under Medicare policy. Being cautious in this context helps us decrease the opportunity for medical identity theft.

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