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Gov’t replacing Social Security numbers on Medicare cards to protect against identity theft

What’s the Social Security Number Removal Initiative (SSNRI)? The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015, requires us to remove Social Security Numbers (SSNs) from all Medicare cards by April 2019. A new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) will replace the SSN-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) on the new Medicare cards for Medicare transactions like billing, eligibility status, and claim status. You can find more details in our 11/1/16 SSNRI Open Door Forum slides.

We currently use an SSN-based HICN to identify people with Medicare and administer the program. We’ve used the HICN with our business partners:

Under the new system, for each person enrolled in Medicare, we’ll:

  • Assign a new MBI
  • Send a new Medicare card

The MBI is confidential like the SSN and should be protected as Personally Identifiable Information”

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