Your New Medicare Card Facts vs Fraud

Understanding the new Medicare ID card numbers:

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently began removing the Social Security Number (SSN)-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) from Medicare ID cards to help prevent fraud and fight identity theft.

The new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) is a combination of uppercase letters and numbers. Be aware of these characteristics:

  • The MBI has 11 characters
  • The characters in the positions 2, 5, 8, and 9 will always be alphabetic. Example: 2A22A22AA22
  • All letters are UPPERCASE

In an effort to reduce confusion, the MBI will never include the following letters: S, L, O, I, B, Z (as these letters are frequently mistaken for certain numbers)


What do you have to do:

Simple answer; nothing.

Medicare beneficiaries will be receiving their new Medicare ID cards between April 2018 and April 2019 with their new MBI. It will take some time for CMS to mail everyone a new card. Your card might arrive at a different time than your friend’s or neighbor’s card.

Your current supplements, Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans, member ID numbers and member ID cards are not impacted by this change. Existing policyholders do not need to notify their insurance carrier of their new Medicare number. There’s no impact to enrollment or claims processes.

Here is a link to some resources to help explain some of the details.  You can also learn more by visiting the Your Medicare Card page at


Avoiding Fraud and Scams:

The new cards start going into the mail on April 1, 2018.  These changes will make it considerably harder for criminals to steal your identity. According to the Justice Department, the number of identity-theft cases for people 65 or older hit 2.6 million in 2014.

But true to their nature, scam artists are already using the moment to target the 58 million people who will be getting new cards this year.

The Federal Trade Commission reports that rip-off artists are now calling beneficiaries, pretending to be from Medicare. Three common pitches are:

  • You’re asked for your Social Security number and bank information, so you can get the new card. Hang up! Medicare will never call you and never ask for such information.
  • You’re asked to pay for your new card. Hang up! The new card is free.
  • You’re told you’ll lose your Medicare benefits if you don’t give them money and personal information right now. Hang up! The free card will be sent to you automatically. Your benefits will remain the same.


In summary; you should get your new card this year,  destroy your old one, no other action is necessary. Don’t ever give your bank account or social security number to anyone over the phone and you don’t have to call your insurance company.

As always feel free to call our office directly if you have any questions or concerns regarding Medicare or any of your health benefits needs.


Wally Miller

President, Compass Benefits, LLC

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