Medicare is taking steps to remove Social Security numbers from Medicare cards. Through this initiative, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will prevent fraud, fight identity theft, protect essential program funding and the private healthcare and financial information of our Medicare beneficiaries.

CMS will issue new Medicare cards with a new unique, randomly-assigned number called a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) to replace the existing Social Security-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) both on the cards and in various CMS systems we use now. CMS will start mailing new cards to people with Medicare benefits in April 2018. All Medicare cards will be replaced by April 2019.


CMS is committed to helping providers by giving them the tools they need. CMS wants to make this process as easy as possible for you, your patients, and your staff. Based on feedback from healthcare providers, practice managers and other stakeholders, CMS is developing capabilities where doctors and other healthcare providers will be able to look up the new MBI through a secure tool at the point of service. To make this change easier for you and your business operations, there is a 21-month transition period where all healthcare providers will be able to use either the MBI or the HICN for billing purposes.

Therefore, even though your systems will need to be able to accept the new MBI format by April 2018, you can continue to bill and file healthcare claims using a patient’s HICN during the transition period. CMS encourages you to work with your billing vendor to make sure that your system will be updated to reflect these changes as well.

Beginning in April 2018, Medicare patients will come to your office with new cards in hand. We’re committed to giving you information you need to help your office get ready for new Medicare cards and MBIs.

5 Steps To Take To Help Your Office or Healthcare Facility Get Ready

Here are five steps you can take today to help your office or healthcare facility get ready:

  1. Go to the CMS provider website and sign-up for the weekly MLN Connects® newsletter.
  2. Attend CMS quarterly calls to get more information. CMS will let you know when calls are scheduled in the MLN Connects newsletter.
  3. Verify all of your Medicare patients’ addresses. If the addresses you have on file are different than the Medicare address you get on electronic eligibility transactions, ask your patients to contact Social Security and update their Medicare records.
  4. Work with CMS to help your Medicare patients adjust to their new Medicare card. When available later this fall, you can display helpful information about the new Medicare cards. Hang posters about the change in your offices to help CMS spread the word.
  5. Test your system changes and work with your billing office staff to be sure your office is ready to use the new MBI format.

CMS will keep working closely with you to answer your questions and hear your concerns. To learn more, visit:


Contact your Health Services Advisory Group (HSAG) state representative:

  • Arizona: Padma Taggarse, MMI, MBA, HSAG Physician Office Quality Executive Director, at 602.614.8942 or
  • California: Debashish Mittra, MBA, PMP, Physician Office Quality Executive Director, at 818.265.4690 or
  • Florida: Diane Chronis, BS, RN, CMUP, HSAG Physician Office Director, at 813.865.3170 or
  • Ohio: Kimberly Harris-Salamone, Phd, MPA, HSAG Vice President, Health Information Technology, at 602.801.6960 or
  • U.S. Virgin Islands: Gwen Williams, BA, HSAG State Director, at 340.244.5440 or

HSAG, as a Quality Improvement Organization, is an open, objective and collaborative partner working across organizational, cultural and geographic boundaries to share knowledge and resources with all stakeholders.

This material was prepared by Health Services Advisory Group, the Medicare Quality Improvement Organization for Arizona, California, Florida, Ohio, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, under contract with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The contents presented do not necessarily reflect CMS policy. Publication No. QN-11SOW-XC-06162017-01