Medicare ID Changes
Starting in April of 2018, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) started a one year process of mailing out new Medicare cards to all Medicare beneficiaries. These new cards will have a new randomly generated 11-character Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) to replace the SSN-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN). The drive to make the change is to remove the SSN off the cards to help fight medical identity theft.
In addition, the Medicare cards will now be printed on paper to allow beneficiaries to be able to print off a new card if they lose theirs, rather than having to request a new one and going through a waiting period.
The new cards will be coming out in a phased approach by geographic regions. Beneficiaries and agents can follow the regions by using the Medicare.gov’s interactive map.
Additional resources for agents:
In updates you have received from the CMS, you may have seen, they are calling the new number the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI), but your clients may not call it that. And it may not be what they are hearing in the news or at their medical clinics when they visit. I’ve heard it just called a Medicare ID on the radio and news. So, until it becomes common knowledge across the United States, there are going to be many different names you hear when a client calls.
Some of your older clients are accustomed to it being the HICN, so it may be difficult for them to adjust. In fact, there have been publications that have stated many just call it their “Medicare Number”; so, remember when you are communicating to your clients that are you attempting to use the language they will understand vs. the formal language given by the CMS. You know your clients best; speak their language!
To help agents manage the new MBI as it comes rolling in from clients, AgencyBloc has added the Medicare Beneficiary ID field. Because of the phased issuing of the new cards, the Medicare ID field that has always been present will remain, thus allowing agents the time they need to collect their clients’ new ID numbers as they are received.
Client Communication Templates
Getting your clients’ new MBIs is going to take time, especially with them coming in phases. However, you can use this to your advantage, with them coming in in small increments vs. a flood all at once! But to get your clients to remember to contact you, you’re going to want to be communicating with them early and often throughout the process to remind them you are here to answer questions and also keep their records up to date.
Here are a couple templates to open your lines of communication with your Medicare clients. Either email or send them a letter—whichever will reach them best. As we’ve said, you understand your clients best, so use your knowledge to reach them!
Alert them to new card
Subject: Medicare Card Updates
I wanted to inform you that new Medicare ID cards are being issued from now until April 2019, and you will be receiving a new card during this time. These new cards will have a new Medicare ID. Once you receive your new card, please give me a call and we can update your records and talk about properly disposing of your old card.
If you have any questions about these changes, give me a call at [Phone Number] when you get a chance, and I’ll be happy to discuss it with you.
Let them know their region is being sent
Subject: Your new Medicare card is on the way!
I wanted to let you know, that according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, your new Medicare card should reach you in the next month. They are currently mailing the new cards for your area, so be on the lookout. Once you receive your card, give me a call and we’ll update your records and discuss any questions you have. We’ll also discuss disposing of your old card.
If I don’t hear from you, I’ll plan to reach out in a few weeks.
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