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SSN Removal Initiative to Replace HIC Number on Medicare Cards

March 22, 2017

The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 requires Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to remove Social Security Numbers (SSNs) from all Medicare cards by April 2019. A new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) will replace the SSN-based Health Insurance Claim (HIC) number on new Medicare cards and will be used for transactions such as billing, eligibility status and claim status.

A transition period will allow providers to use either the HIC number or the MBI. The transition will begin no earlier than April 1, 2018, and run through December 31, 2019.

CMS currently uses SSN-based HIC numbers to identify Medicare recipients and have used HIC numbers with state Medicaid agencies, health care providers and health plans. Under the new system, CMS will assign a new MBI and send a new Medicare card for each recipient enrolled in Medicare. The MBI should be protected as Personally Identifiable Information (PII).

Additional resources can be found on the Providers and Health & drug plans Web pages of the CMS website.

Additional information regarding this transition will be announced in a future Medi-Cal Update.