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Providers & office managers

What do the new Medicare cards mean for health care providers & office managers?

When you start using the new Medicare Beneficiary Identifiers (MBIs), you're helping to protect the identities of people with Medicare and keep them safer from identity theft.

Look at your practice management systems and business processes to determine what changes you need to make to use the new MBIs.

Make changes and test them now, since we're mailing out the new Medicare cards.

If you use vendors to bill Medicare, you should contact them to find out about their MBI practice management system changes.

You might also want to find out how other health care providers who also treat your patients are handling the transition from HICNs to MBIs so you can coordinate your systems, if necessary.

Even though we’ll stop using Social Security Numbers (SSNs) to identify Medicare beneficiaries, what won’t change is how your own Social Security Number is used for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS )and tax reasons, like on your W-9.

Learn, in English or Spanish, what you need to do now and see a timeline of what’s next.

What should health care providers & office managers do to get ready for the new Medicare cards and MBIs?

To get ready to use the new MBIs, make and internally test changes to your practice management systems and business processes by April 2018 before we mail new Medicare cards. Your billing and office staff might have to coordinate their work to make sure your practice is ready. Also, if you use vendors to bill Medicare, contact them to find out about their MBI practice management system changes. It’s especially important that you’re ready for people who are new to Medicare in April 2018 and after because they’ll only get a card with the MBI.

You may want to consider:

*UPDATE* If you don’t already have access to your Medicare Administrative Contractor's (MAC) provider portal, sign up so you can use the provider MBI look-up tool. Starting in June 2018, you can use the MBI look-up tool to find their new MBIs. Your office/facility staff might want to coordinate with your billing/administrative staff, who may already have portal access.

You'll also want to attend our calls to get more information about this project; we’ll let you know about upcoming calls through Medicare Learning Network (MLN) Connects. 

Learn how to get your patients’ MBIs and how to use the MBI.

When should health care providers & office managers use MBIs?

Once patients get their new Medicare cards & MBIs

Use MBIs right away - as soon as your patients get their new cards. The effective date of the new cards is the date beneficiaries are eligible for Medicare.

We'll continue to accept the Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) through the transition period. During the transition period, we’ll:

  • Process claims you submit with either the HICN or the MBI. This will give you and your billing agencies the chance to change your systems if there are problems with claims you submitted using the MBI.
  • Keep track of when claims are sent in and other transactions are done so we can gauge MBI usage.

Once we start mailing out new Medicare cards, people new to Medicare will only be assigned an MBI. Your systems must be ready to accept the MBI by April 2018.

All HICN-based claims have to be received by the January 1, 2020 - the cut-off date. After the transition period ends on January 1, 2020, with a few exceptions, you’ll need to use MBIs on your claims.

You can start using the MBIs even if the other health care providers and hospitals who also treat your patients haven’t.

Find tips for successfully using the MBI, what to do if an MBI changes, and more in our MLN Matters article, "New Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) Get It, Use It".

Learn more about using the MBI.

Where can health care providers & office managers get more information about the new Medicare cards?

Where can health care providers & office managers get help with the new Medicare cards?

The Provider Ombudsman for the New Medicare Card is your resource to make sure we hear and understand any problems you’re having implementing the new Medicare cards. As the Provider Ombudsman, Dr. Eugene Freund will send you information about the new Medicare cards and work inside CMS to settle any implementation problems that come up. Contact the new Medicare card Ombudsman.


MAC Provider Portal URLs   New Medicare card Home