New Medicare ID Numbers!

At last, Medicare will no longer use social security numbers as the beneficiary’s identification number and as a result, remove social security numbers from Medicare cards. The change and mailing of new cards is scheduled to happen in April of 2018. The new “Medicare Number” will be called the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier or “MBI”. To prepare for the change Medical Practice Solutions will be updating our practice management system’s patient numbers to automatically accept the new Medicare number (“MBI”).

CMS has provided the following Q & A:

Do I need to ask my Medicare patients for information?

Verify your Medicare patients’ addresses; they won’t get a new card if their address isn’t correct. If the address you have on file is different than the address you get in electronic eligibility transaction responses from us, encourage your Medicare patients to correct their address in Medicare’s records by calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 or going online to their online account at This may require coordination between your billing and office staff. We will add resources you can share with Medicare patients to the New Medicare Card webpages by fall 2017.

How will the MBI look?

The MBI format is still 11 characters long, contains numbers and uppercase letters,
and is unique to each person with Medicare. It will be clearly different from the HICN.

How many characters will the MBI have?

The MBI has 11 characters, like the Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN), which can
have up to 11.

Will the MBl’s characters have any meaning?

Each MBI is randomly generated. This makes MBls different than HICNs, which are based on the Social Security Numbers (SSNs) of people with Medicare. The MBl’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?

MBls are numbers and upper-case letters. We’ll use numbers 0-9 and all letters from
A to Z, except for S, L, 0, I, B, and Z. This will help the characters be easier to read.

What about Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug plans?

Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug plans will continue to assign and use their own identifiers on their health insurance cards. For patients in these plans, continue to ask for and use the plans’ health insurance cards.