To prevent fraud and illegal use, the new Medicare cards won’t include Social Security numbers

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is preparing a fraud prevention initiative that removes Social Security numbers from Medicare cards to help prevent identity theft.

The new cards will use a unique, randomly-assigned number called a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier, to replace the Social Security-based Health Insurance Claim Number currently used on the Medicare card. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will begin mailing new cards in April 2018 and will meet the congressional deadline for replacing all Medicare cards by April 2019.

Providers and beneficiaries will both be able to use secure look-up tools that will provide access to the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier number when they need them. There will also be a 21-month transition period where providers will be able to use either the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier number or the Social Security-based Health Insurance Claim number to help ease the transition for a comprehensive plan for the removal of Social Security numbers and transition to the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier numbers.

Read full press release here

Personal identity theft affects a large and growing number of individuals, especially people age 65 or older who are increasingly the victims of this type of crime. Identity theft can take not only an emotional toll on those who experience it, but also a financial one. It can also disrupt lives, damage credit ratings and result in inaccuracies in medical records and costly false claims.

For more information about Social Security, visit the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services website

 

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