To protect Medicare patients from identify theft and illegal use of Medicare benefits, Medicare has replaced the Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) with Medicare Beneficiary Identifiers (MBI). HICNs were based on member’s SSNs while MBIs are unique and randomly generated.
Medicare began issuing their member’s new ID cards in April 2018. During this time, providers could use either the HICN or MBI when submitting claims. That transition period is coming to an end on December 31, 2019. Starting January 1, 2020, all Medicare claims must be submitted using MBIs.
MBIs should be updated in your billing system as soon as possible. Claims submitted after January 1, 2020 with HICNs will deny and payment will be delayed. Make sure your staff is aware of this change and encourage them to ask patients for their MBIs before checking benefits and eligibility.
All beneficiaries were sent their Medicare cards based on a mailing schedule, and should have received their cards by now. If they did not receive their updated Medicare card, patients should call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 to verify that their address is correct.