The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015, requires CMS to remove Social Security Numbers (SSNs) from all Medicare cards by April 2019. This new regulation is called the Social Security Number Removal Initiative or SSNRI and is being implemented to help protect against identity theft and illegal use of Medicare benefits.
A new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) will replace the SSN-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) on the new Medicare cards for Medicare transactions like billing, eligibility status, and claim status. CMS plans to have a transition period where either the HICN or the MBI can be used to exchange data with them. The transition period will begin no earlier than April 1, 2018 and run through December 31, 2019.
The MBI will be:
- Clearly different than the HICN and RRB number
- 11-characters in length
- Made up only of numbers and uppercase letters (no special characters)
There will be secure tools available to providers and beneficiaries to look up MBIs when they become available.
As always, ADVOCATE will keep you up to date on this and all issues impacting radiology as they become available.
Lauren Sloan, MHA, RD, LD
Director of Regulatory Affairs