Medicare Card Transition Begins in Less than a Month

PUBLISHED: Mar 12, 2018
Relevant to: All Healthcare Organizations

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) transition to the new Medicare card begins on April 1, 2018. CMS will begin mailing new Medicare cards with the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) on April 1. Health care providers should start using the MBI as soon as patients get their new cards. The MBI on the new card is effective immediately unless the patient is new to Medicare, in which case refer to the “coverage starts” date on the card. People new to Medicare will only have a Medicare card with an MBI.

Key Information:

  • The MBI is located on your patient’s new Medicare card: From April 2018 through December 31, 2019, when submitting a HICN on the 270 eligibility transaction request, CMS will tell you in the message field of the 271 response when the new Medicare card was mailed to each individual with Fee-For-Service Medicare. A link to the mailing schedule is provided below.
  • If a patient can’t provide their new Medicare card, providers can also access a patient’s MBI from their Medicare Administrative Contractor’s (MAC) portal: starting in June 2018, use the look-up tool on your MAC’s portal. If you don’t have access, sign up.
  • From the Remittance Advice (RA): From October 2018 through December 31, 2019, CMS will include the MBI on the RA if you submit a HICN on the claim. (Examples)

People with Medicare enrolled in Medicare Advantage and/or Part D plans will continue to use the cards from those plans when they get health care and/or prescriptions.

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