In April 2018, Medicare began the process of removing Social Security Numbers from Medicare cards in an effort to prevent identity theft. Health Insurance Claim Numbers (HICNs) were replaced by Medicare Beneficiary Identifiers (MBIs), randomly generated combinations of 11 alphanumeric characters. The MBI is confidential and should be protected like any other Personally Identifiable Information.
These new Medicare cards were sent out between April 2018 and April 2019. During the 21 month transition period, providers have been able to continue filing claims using HICNs. This transition from HICN to MBI will be complete at the end of December 2019. Beginning in January 2020, Medicare claims must be submitted using MBIs no matter the date of service. HICNs will no longer be accepted after January 1, 2020 and claims submitted with the HICNs will be rejected.
There are a few exceptions to this rule:
- Appeals: HICNs or MBIs can be used for appeals or related paperwork.
- Claim status query: Either ID number can be used to check the status of a claim if the earliest DOS is before January 1, 2020. MBIs must be used for claims with DOS after January 1, 2020.
- Span-date claims: Either number can be used for 11X-Inpatient Hospital, 32X-Home Health and 41X-Religious Non-Medical Health Care Institution claims as long as the “From Date” is before December 31, 2019. If a patient’s services begin before December 31, 2019 and continue until after December 31, 2019, the claim can be submitted with either the HICN or MBI even if it is submitted after the deadline. Because home health claims are submitted for 60-day payment periods, providers can send them in with either the HICN or MBI. However, once the December 31, 2019 deadline is passed, the MBI must be used on the final claim that goes with these home health claims.