Starting April 1st, 2018 the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will begin mailing new Medicare cards to members. The new cards will no longer include the Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) containing the individual’s Social Security number, instead it will contain a new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) number that will be assigned to each individual. The removal of the HICN number was part of the MACRA legislation that was passed in 2015 and is designed to help prevent fraud and protect beneficiaries from identity theft.
The new cards will still don the same iconic red, white and blue colors of the past, but will now include the new 11 digit MBI number instead of the old HICN number.
The new Medicare cards will be mailed out in waves, dependent on which state the beneficiary resides in. See chart below:
|Wave||States Included||Cards Mailing|
|1||Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia||April-June 2018|
|2||Alaska, American Samoa, California, Guam, Hawaii, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon||April – June 2018|
|3||Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin||After June 2018|
|4||Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts,|
New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont
|After June 2018|
|5||Alabama, Florida, Georgia,|
North Carolina, South Carolina
|After June 2018|
|6||Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wyoming||After June 2018|
|7||Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Virgin Islands||After June 2018|
The MBI is 11 characters in length and comprised of uppercase letters and numbers. Each MBI is randomly generated which makes them different than the HICN, which were based on the beneficiary’s SSN. To determine the MBI, they’ll use numbers 0-9 and all letters from A to Z, except for S, L, O, I, B and Z. This will help the characters be easier to read. Each character of the new MBI will be designated as either a numeric value, an alphabetic value, or both. Here’s the format they will follow:
Character 1 – numeric values 1 thru 9
Character 2 – alphabetic values A thru Z (minus S, L, O, I, B, Z)
Character 3 – alpha-numeric values 0 thru 9 and A thru Z (minus S, L, O, I, B, Z)
Character 4 – numeric values 0 thru 9
Character 5 – alphabetic values A thru Z (minus S, L, O, I, B, Z)
Character 6 – alpha-numeric values 0 thru 9 and A thru Z (minus S, L, O, I, B, Z)
Character 7 – numeric values 0 thru 9
Character 8 – alphabetic values A thru Z (minus S, L, O, I, B, Z)
Character 9 – alphabetic values A thru Z (minus S, L, O, I, B, Z)
Character 10 – numeric values 0 thru 9
Character 11 – numeric values 0 thru 9
Each person with Medicare will get their own randomly-generated MBI. Spouses or dependents who may have had similar HICNs will each get their own different MBI.
Chris Hagerstrom is the Director of New Business Development at Jack Schroeder and Associates, Inc. Through years of experience he has become an expert with Medicare, Life Insurance, Annuities and Supplemental Health and how to successfully navigate the senior market.