Stepping up security

by removing Social Security numbers

If you’re on Medicare, you understand the importance of your Medicare card. Medicare cards currently contain a Social Security number-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN). Congress will soon require that Social Security numbers be removed from all Medicare cards in an effort to alleviate the possibility of identity theft for Medicare beneficiaries.

This legislation is a part of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) and requires that “a Social Security number is not displayed, coded, or embedded on the Medicare card issued to an individual who is entitled to benefits.” [1] This means, in place of the Social Security Number-based information will be a unique, randomly-generated Medicare billing identifier (MBI).

This change will go into effect starting in 2018 with new cards. As an additional security measure, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will no longer provide MBI’s to providers after the transition period (April 1, 2018 – December 31, 2019). Instead, providers will inquire directly with their patients. For our complete review of the legislation, visit our blog post and the links below.


For more information on MACRA and H.R. 2: