Medicare on track to replace Social Security numbers on cards

Social Security Cards

The federal government says it’s on track to fulfill a 2019 due date for replacing Social Security numbers on Medicare cards with randomly generated digits and letters to secure seniors against identity theft.

Planning for the enormous transition has been underway for years.

According to the Office of the Inspector General, Social Security Administration, President Obama signed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). To protect seniors from identity theft, the law required the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to issue new Medicare cards that did not display, code, or embed SSN’s by April 2019.

Medicare authorities stated that recipients and their families may begin seeing modifications next April. That’s when the company will start mailing out new cards to more than 57 million senior and disabled beneficiaries.

They’ll be instructed to destroy their old cards after they get the new one.

The government states senior citizens are increasingly the victims of identity scams, with a 24 percent boost in such cases from 2012-2014.

Healthcare providers and persons on Medicare will have access to a secure web “lookup” tool in case cards are lost. There will be a transition period from April 1, 2018 through December 31, 2019 during which providers can use either the legacy Social Security number or the MBI to exchange data with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

“After the transition period, CMS will reject claims if the MBI is not used,” the agency cautions. “Once CMS starts mailing out new Medicare cards in April 2018, anyone who is newly enrolled in Medicare will only get an MBI. Therefore, all systems must be ready to begin accepting the MBI by April 2018.”

The lookup tool and other supporting tools are currently in development. CMS will give updates as they become available.

Congress has set an April 2019 due date for all recipients to have new cards.

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