Many critics were asking, “What’s taken you so long?” The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announces that it will remove Social Security numbers from Medicare cards to combat fraud and illegal use.
The new cards will use a unique, randomly-assigned number called a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) to replace Social Security numbers. CMS 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 be able to use secure look up tools that will support quick access to MBIs when they need them. There will also be a 21-month transition period where providers and billing companies will be able to use either the MBI or the HICN further easing the transition.
Personal identity theft affects a large and growing number of seniors. Incidents among seniors increased to 2.6 million from 2.1 million between 2012 and 2014 according to the most current statistics from the Department of Justice.
Our Note: With identity fraud growing exponentially it was crucial that CMS take this action. Removing Social Security numbers from Medicare ID cards was literally a “No Brainer.” The question remains- why did it take CMS and Congress this long to take action on behalf of the nation’s senior citizens and offer them another layer of protection against fraud?
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