New Medicare Cards Part 2

We recently informed all Medicare beneficiaries that they would be getting a new Medicare ID number within the next year. Below is the explanation of how the numbers will be created and what they will look like. The most important part of this blog is to know new ID cards are coming without your social security number on it. This will protect your identity and help keep your confidential medical history confidential and help eliminate fraud. This is for those seniors that want to understand the numbers, otherwise, just remember you are getting new cards and your insurance company already is prepared to replace your social with the new numbers.

These new ID cards are being distributed across the US starting in the east and ending up in our area sometime around April or May of 2019.

Those new to Medicare will be getting the new ID cards starting immediately. Thought I would show you what the new cards look like with an explanation of the numbers.

The following was taken directly from the CMS website.

How many characters will the MBI (Medicare Beneficiary Identifier) have? The MBI has 11 characters, like the Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN), which can have up to 11.

Will the MBI’s characters have any meaning? Each MBI is randomly generated. This makes MBIs different than HICNs, which are based on the Social Security Numbers (SSNs) of people with Medicare. The MBI’s characters are “non-intelligent” so they don’t have any hidden or special meaning.

What kinds of characters will be used in the MBI? MBIs are numbers and upper-case letters. We’ll use numbers 1-9 and all letters from A to Z, except for S, L, O, I, B, and Z. This will help the characters be easier to read. If you use lowercase letters, our system will convert them to uppercase letters.

How will the MBI look on the new card? The MBI will contain letters and numbers. Here’s an example: 1EG4-TE5-MK73

  • The MBI’s 2nd, 5th, 8th, and 9th characters will always be a letter. • Characters 1, 4, 7, 10, and 11 will always be a number. • The 3rd and 6th characters will be a letter or a number. • The dashes aren’t used as part of the MBI. They won’t be entered into computer systems or used in file formats.

Where will the MBI’s characters go? C    – Numeric 1 thru 9         N    – Numeric 0 thru 9       AN – Either A or N        A    – Alphabetic Character (A…Z); Excluding (S, L, O, I, B, Z)

Position 1 – numeric values 1 thru 9 Position 2 – alphabetic values A thru Z (minus S, L, O, I, B, Z) Position 3 – alpha-numeric values 0 thru 9 and A thru Z (minus S, L, O, I, B, Z) Position 4 – numeric values 0 thru 9 Position 5 – alphabetic values A thru Z (minus S, L, O, I, B, Z) Position 6 – alpha-numeric values 0 thru 9 and A thru Z (minus S, L, O, I, B, Z) Position 7 – numeric values 0 thru 9 Position 8 – alphabetic values A thru Z (minus S, L, O, I, B, Z) Position 9 – alphabetic values A thru Z (minus S, L, O, I, B, Z) Position 10 – numeric values 0 thru 9 Position 11 – numeric values 0 thru 9

How will the MBI fit on forms? MBIs will fit on forms the same way HICNs do. You don’t need spaces for dashes.

Who will get a new MBI? Each person with Medicare will get their own randomly-generated MBI. Spouses or dependents who may have had similar HICNs will each get their own different MBI.

Though complicated in explanation, the new ID cards will be almost impossible to replicate or steal. That should go a long way in eliminating fraudulent claims.

While complicated to understand, each current and new Medicare beneficiary will get a new ID card void of your social security number. A good thing indeed!

There is one concern with the new Medicare ID cards. If you are new to Medicare and need to get your MAPD, PDP or Medicare Supplement, you cannot do so until you have your new ID card. When it was your social security number we could figure out the suffix by asking if you were on social security or not. We could then use your social plus the suffix to sign you up for coverage. Just got a call today from someone who is effective this May but he hasn’t got his ID card yet so I can’t sign him up unless we know this Medicare ID #. We won’t until he receives his new Medicare ID card. It’s a small glitch that recipient will have to deal with by signing up when they should and not wait until the last minute.

The Barend Agency Inc.

Len Barend, Broker


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