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New Medicare Cards Are Coming in 2018 – Prepare Now to Prevent Future Problems

Medicare provides insurance for nearly 58 million aged and disabled people in the United States, and  Kentucky has more than 800,000 Medicare beneficiaries.

Beginning in April 2018, the program will transition to a newly designed Medicare card aimed at reducing fraud.  Social Security numbers, visible on the card since the Medicare program began, will be replaced by randomly assigned identifiers that include a mix of numerals and letters. The new card will be called MBI – Medicare Beneficiary Identifier.

Medicare is taking a phased-in approach and will start sending new cards to beneficiaries in April 2018, with all new cards mailed by April 2019.

The updated design will be featured in the 2018 Medicare and You Handbook.

Medicare beneficiaries do not need to take any action to obtain the card, however, the same is not true for physicians.

During a twenty-one month transition period, all healthcare providers will be able to use either the MBI or the HICN (Health Information Claim Number) for billing purposes but still must be able to accept the new MBI format by April 2018.

Medicare is in the process of developing a secure tool at the point of service that will allow physicians to look up the new MBI.

Suggested steps for physicians and providers to prepare for the transition include:

  1. Verifying Medicare patient addresses. If the addresses on file are different than the Medicare address received on the electronic eligibility transactions, ask the patient to contact Social Security and update their Medicare records.
  2. Working with Medicare patients to adjust to their new Medicare card. Display information about the new cards. Visit for more information on the new card design.
  3. Testing system changes and working with electronic vendors and billing companies to ensure practice readiness for the new MBI
  4. Visiting Medicare New Card for more details.

For questions contact Lindy Lady at KMA,

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