Medicare ID numbers are changing!
Social Security numbers followed by the letter “A” or “B” have historically been the ID numbers assigned to Medicare beneficiaries. The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, also known as MACRA, is requiring this to change. As you may suspect, the reason for the change is to protect against identity theft and other types of fraud. The new ID cards will use randomly generated 11-digit identifiers as opposed to Social Security numbers. Below is an example of what the new cards will look like.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is starting to use the revised ID cards for newly eligible Medicare beneficiaries. Over the next year, existing Medicare beneficiaries will gradually receive new ID cards. Existing Medicare beneficiaries in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington D.C. and West Virginia are expected to be part of the first group of people who receive a new card. All Medicare beneficiaries should have their new card by April 2019.
Healthcare providers will need to prepare for the change. There will be a transition period in place that will allow claims which are submitted under the old ID numbers to be processed, but this will eventually end. Claims submitted with the old ID numbers will be rejected starting in 2020.
Insurance carriers will also need to prepare for the change. Carriers who sell Medicare Supplement plans, Medicare Advantage plans and Part D plans will need the revised ID numbers. The revised ID numbers will also be needed to coordinate benefits between group health plans and Medicare.