New Medicare cards to help avert identity theft

Everyone cautions people not to carry their Social Security cards with them, yet Medicare cards prominently display a beneficiary’s Social Security number.

That creates the potential for identity theft but I can share some good news.

In April of last year, President signed MACRA, Section 501 of which prohibits the inclusion of Social Security account numbers on Medicare cards.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Social Security Number Removal Initiative is now under way.

SSNRI is a phased initiative to replace the Social Security number on a Medicare card with a new, randomly generated Medicare Beneficiary Identifier number.

The process will take some time, however, as things are not as simple as they may seem. A spokesman for

There are about 60 million cards that need to be reissued, Scannable Fake IDs and the changes require more than a flip of a switch. More than 75 systems use the SSN based identification number (called the , or HICN) on the Medicare card to identify beneficiaries and process health care payments.

State health care and Medicaid systems also are involved.

According to a May 5 CMS Informational Bulletin, “In order for states to be fully compliant with this legislation and to continue critical data exchanges with the CMS, state Medicaid business processes and systems must be examined and necessary changes identified, developed, tested and implemented prior to the CMS assigning MBIs and distributing the new Medicare ID cards.”

To make sure the MBI implementation works smoothly for the states, CMS runs biweekly All State SSNRI Forum calls: “These calls provide CMS the opportunity to promptly communicate important guidance and updates to the state Medicaid agencies and for SMAs and their invited key stakeholders to ask questions, share information and facilitate coordination.”

So, Fake IDs this will take some time but at least now we’re not bogged down in talks.

According to the CMS bulletin, new card issuance will begin in early 2018.

All Medicare beneficiaries will have a card with their new MBI number by April 2019.

In the meantime, here is some advice to Medicare cardholders from the to Preserve Social Security and Medicare’s “Remove From Medicare Cards”:

“Until the government completes action on removing SSNs from Medicare cards, beneficiaries should not carry their card(s) with them. A possible alternative is for beneficiaries to carry a photocopy of their Medicare card(s) with all but the last four digits of their Social Security number(s) cut or scratched out.

Beneficiaries may need their original cop(ies) with them the first time they visit a new health care provider who may want a copy for their files or, preferably, beneficiaries may be able to provide their number(s) over the phone. But in the meantime, beneficiaries should take precautions to reduce their personal risk of becoming an identity theft victim. buy fake ids