Newtown Square, PA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 08/23/2017 -- Some seniors across America received their new Medicare cards in the mail and were surprised to see the supposed "new" ID number is the same as their Social Security number (SSN) — a practice that the government was supposed to halt.
The removal of the SSN from the Medicare cards will be a gradual process. Removing SSNs from 58 million cards is bound to take some time. However, the new cards are scheduled to arrive in the mail in April 2018 from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The process of completely removing the SSNs is likely to take until December 2019.
"The intention of this program is to randomly produce an 11-character Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) that replaces a beneficiary's SSN. Just because you are issued with a new number, does not mean your Medicare benefits are going to change. They will not," said Clelland Green, RHU, CEO benepath.com.
All new cards sent out beginning in 2018 are slated to arrive with an explanation of how to use the new card and what to do with the old Medicare card. The instant a beneficiary receives a new Medicare card it may be used. "That said," pointed out Green, "there is going to be a transition period in 2018 and 2019 when recipients may use the old card or the new one."
Although there may be some initial confusion it is likely the program is going to be implemented slowly and cautiously, with as few errors as possible. Medicare beneficiaries may look forward to receiving their new cards in 2018 and be assured that they will have a far smaller chance of experiencing identity theft with the new MBI numbers.
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