Social Security Number Removal Initiative (SSNRI)

PUBLISHED: Oct 27, 2016

The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) requires the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to remove Social Security Numbers (SSN) from all Medicare cards by April 2019. A new randomly generated Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) will replace the SSN-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) on the new cards for transactions like billing, eligibility status, and claim status.

No earlier than April 2018, CMS will start mailing new Medicare cards with MBIs to people with Medicare. Providers can ask Medicare patients at the time of service if they have a new card with an MBI. Also, beginning in October 2018, through a transition period (exact dates still being determined but the transition period will begin no earlier than April 1, 2018 and run through December 31, 2019), CMS will return the MBI on the remittance advice when a claim is submitted using the patients HICN.

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

Good To Know:

  • MBIs are confidential. The MBI is Personally Identifiable Information. Providers must protect the MBI and only share it for Medicare-related business, just as is currently done with the HICN.
  • During the transition period, use the MBI or the HICN to check Medicare eligibility. Once the transition period ends you must use the MBI to check eligibility.
  • When Filing appeals use the beneficiary identifier (MBI or HICN) used to submit the claim that’s under appeal, even after the transition period.

CMS is hosting an Open Door Forum on the SSNRI on Tuesday November 1, 2016 from 1 to 3pm , EST. Follow the link below for additional information. StayAlert is following this topic and will post additional notices as information becomes available.

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