You may have already heard that Federal Legislation passed in 2015 requires Social Security numbers to be removed from all Medicare cards by April 2019. This change is being made as a response to significant privacy and identity theft concerns of using Social Security Numbers on Medicare cards.
Starting in April 2018, Medicare beneficiaries will begin receiving new cards in the mail, complete with a new Medicare number. The new Medicare number will be called the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) and will replace the existing Medicare numbers. The new MBIs will be 11 characters long and will be made up of numbers and upper-case letters, with no special characters. These MBIs are each unique, randomly generated and have no hidden or special meaning. The new card and new MBI will not change your coverage or benefits. The new cards will be mailed in phases, based on the geographic location. Because of the mailing phases, and in an effort to ease Medicare Beneficiaries into the change, there will be a transition period while the new cards are being issued, when beneficiaries can either use their old Medicare number or their new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI). This transition period ends in January 2020. As with any major change in Medicare or other governmental programs, it is anticipated that scams or other misleading information will soon be heading your way. To keep yourself and your new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) protected, the Center for Medicare Services specifically suggests the following:
- Make sure your address is up to date with Social Security. You can contact Social Security at https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/ or 1-800-772-1213 to make this change.
- Beware of anyone who contacts you about your new Medicare card. The issuance of the new cards is automatic- you will not need to provide personal or private information to get a new card.
- Understand that mailing everyone a new card will take some time. Your card may arrive at a different time than your friends or neighbors.
- Once you get a new card, your new MBI is confidential, like your Social Security Number, so keep it protected.