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New Medicare Cards

Known before as 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 5/30/17 press release and latest Open Door Forum slides. Also, you can see the new card on our new Medicare card homepage.

We currently use an SSN-based HICN to identify people with Medicare and administer the program.
Under the new system, for each person enrolled in Medicare, we’ll:

  • Assign a new MBI.
  • Mail a new Medicare card.
The MBI is confidential like the SSN and should be protected as Personally Identifiable Information.

Why are the new Medicare cards important?
The biggest reason we're taking the SSN off of Medicare cards is to fight medical identity theft for people with Medicare. By replacing the SSN-based HICN on all Medicare cards, we can better protect.

  • Private health care and financial information.
  • Federal health care benefit and service payments.

We've often heard from Congress, the General Accountability Office, people with Medicare, and advocacy groups that they want the SSN taken off Medicare cards.

What’s the timeline for the new Medicare cards & what does it mean for me?

Getting started
Moving to new Medicare Numbers and cards requires a lot of changes to our systems and how we do business. The same is true for you -- our business partners.
We’ve already started this work and want to help you shift to the new MBIs by April 2018. Beginning in April 2018, we’ll start mailing the new Medicare cards with the MBI to all people with Medicare in phases by geographic location. The change to MBIs won’t change how we find non-active Medicare beneficiaries. The MBI and the HICN don’t tell us which beneficiaries are non-active, so we’ll keep using the data that does give us that information. Learn, in English or Spanish, what you need to do now and see a timeline of what’s next.

Systems testing

Will there be testing for systems that use the MBI?
We’re planning to test systems that’ll use the MBI, including enhanced integration testing (EIT) for new or high risk systems.  We’re not offering end-to-end testing with Medicare fee-for-service claims processing systems because you’ll be able to use either HICNs or MBIs to submit claims during the transition period. You can use the transition period as a live test and make adjustments as necessary, yet still have claims submitted and processed with HICNs until the transition period ends.

Transition period
We plan to have a transition period where you can use either the HICN or the MBI to exchange data with us. The transition period will begin no earlier than April 1, 2018 and run through December 31, 2019.  During the transition period, we’ll monitor the use of HICNs and MBIs to see how many of you are ready to use only MBIs by January 2020. We’ll also actively monitor the transition and adjustment to the new MBIs to make sure of their wide-spread adoption so Medicare operations aren’t interrupted.  After the transition period ends on January 1, 2020, you'll need to use MBIs on your claims with a few exceptions when you can use either the HICN or MBI.  Additional information can be found at


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Last Updated On: 1/4/2018