As you most likely already know, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is required to remove Social Security Numbers (SSN) from all Medicare cards by April 2019.  Every Medicare recipient will be issued a new Medicare ID consisting of a unique & random number/letter combination called a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI).

This is a massive undertaking and will happen in stages, beginning April 1, 2018.  The mailing schedule is divided into 7 phases by state:

Phase 1:  April – June 2018:  Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia

Phase 2:  April – June 2018:  Alaska, American Samoa, California, Guam, Hawaii, Northern Mariana Islands and Oregon.

Phases 3 – 7 consist of all remaining U.S. territories and are only scheduled at this time as “after June 2018”.  For more information, see the mailing process.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

  • Medicare benefits & coverage remain the same.
  • Medicare billing requirements (modifiers, etc.) remain the same.
  • Not only will the patient name, date of birth and MBI# need to match your claim exactly, but the patient’s address will also be required to match exactly with what they have on file with CMS.
  • Patients who are eligible for Medicare, beginning April 2, 2018, will only receive the new BMI formatted card.
  • Patients who currently have an active replacement policy that you are billing will still be receiving their new Medicare card. Do not be confused!  A new Medicare card does not automatically mean you are supposed to bill CMS.  Continue billing whichever payer you currently have as primary, unless your patient indicates otherwise.

SOME THINGS YOU SHOULD DO:

Insurance can be very confusing for your Medicare patients.  In many cases they have multiple cards that are used differently depending on which kind of provider they are seeing.

  • Display a sign on your front desk with a picture of the new Medicare card to help your patient’s remember to watch for the arrival of theirs. The NewMedicare Card Flyer is a great option.
  • Begin asking your patient’s on each visit if they have received their new Medicare card.
  • When they give you their new Medicare card, be sure to have them verify their address by writing it down so you can double-check that it matches exactly to what you have in your system.
  • If you are a Money Tree client, be sure to contact us with any questions.