Beginning in April 2018, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will start mailing new Medicare cards with new identification numbers to all active Medicare beneficiaries. The new cards will have a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) instead of the beneficiary's Social Security number to prevent fraud and medical identify theft.
The CMS card distribution schedule indicates that Medicare beneficiaries in Pennsylvania and West Virginia are first on the list to receive their new cards starting in May 2018. You can view the entire mailing schedule at cms.gov/Medicare/New-Medicare-Card/NMC-Mailing-Strategy.pdf .
Patients may be confused as to which card to present or why their Social Security number is no longer the same as their Medicare number. Asking patients if they have additional Medicare Advantage or Medigap coverage at the time of service may be beneficial and may help alleviate misunderstandings.You play an important role in educating your Medicare patients about their new cards. To help prepare your patients for this change, CMS has provided a variety of tools for you to use to remind patients of their new Medicare card. Please review the following website for items that are printable, such as posters, tear-offs, and fliers, which can be helpful when discussing the new Medicare card and number with your patients: cms.gov/Medicare/New-Medicare-Card/Partners-and-Employers/Partners-and-employers.html . These items may be displayed in your office; however, this is not a requirement. CMS also launched its own educational campaign around the new card in March of 2018.