CMS has released the design of the new Medicare cards which beneficiaries will begin to receive next year, containing a randomly assigned number to replace the current one based off a patient’s Social Security number.
The card will include this new number, the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI), below the patient’s name, along with the Medicare services the beneficiary is entitled to receive (Part A, Part B, etc.) and the date their coverage had started.
“The goal of the initiative to remove Social Security numbers from Medicare cards is to help prevent fraud, combat identify theft, and safeguard taxpayer dollars,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma, MPH, said in a statement. “We’re very excited to share the new design.”
As previously announced by CMS, beneficiaries will begin receiving their new cards in April 2018, meeting a deadline set by Congress to replace all the cards by April 2019. For a 21-month period after the rollout begins, providers will accept both the new and old Medicare cards.
Having a Social Security-based number has made Medicare beneficiaries popular targets for identity theft, according to CMS, with reported incidents among people aged 65 or older increasing from 2.1 million to 2.6 million between 2012 and 2014.