The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015 mandates removal of Social Security Number (SSN)-based HIC numbers from Medicare cards to address current risk of beneficiary medical identity theft. CMS will use a new MBI generator to assign over 150 Million MBIs beginning April 1, 2018, and continuing through December 31, 2019, for full implementation January 1, 2020. While CMS will continue to process transactions utilizing a beneficiary's current HIC number during the transition period, Medicare fee for service entities must modify their current processes and systems to be ready to submit or exchange the MBI by April 1, 2018. The current system requires a 9-byte SSN plus 1 or 2-byte BIC. The MBI system will require an 11-byte alpha numeric numeration system. All Medicare fee for services entities are advised to check all of their internal billing systems to be certain the software they are currently using will accommodate the new MBIs. During the transition period, Medicare entities will be allowed to enter either the MBI or HIC number. If you use vendors to bill Medicare, ask them about their MBI practice management system changes and make sure they are ready for the change.
Medicare entities should advise their clients/patients of the new MBI Cards they will be receiving and request that they notify you when they have received their new cards. Home Health Agencies will want to ask clients prior to recertification periods if they have received the new MIB card so that they can update and use the new numbers in subsequent billing periods. We also advise that you verify your client's addresses. If the address you have on file is different than the address on electronic eligibility transaction responses, ask your clients to contact Social Security and update their Medicare records.