New Medicare Cards

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Published on May 07, 2018

New Medicare Cards

photo of a sign with Medicare

photo of a sign with MedicareSocial Security Number replaced with more secure Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI)

The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 requires the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to remove Social Security Numbers (SSNs) from all Medicare cards by December 2019. A new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) will replace all SSN-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) on cards.

Four common questions and answers regarding MBI:

1) When will I receive my new card?

CMS began mailing out new cards in April to those who have Medicare benefits and will continue mailing cards until they have all been replaced. New and old cards will be accepted during the transition period of April 2018 through December 2019.

2) Why are the new numbers important?

These new cards are important because they help fight identity theft by removing the sensitive SSN from the card. By replacing the SSN-based cards with cards that feature a MBI, CMS can help better protect private health and financial information, along with federal health benefit and service payments.

3) How will the new numbers be different?

The new MBI will look clearly different from the current HICN and will be 11 characters in length.  They are made up of only numbers and uppercase letters, and each MBI is unique and randomly generated, meaning that they don’t have any hidden or special meanings.

4) Do the new cards change my benefits?

No, the new cards won’t change Medicare benefits. According to the CMS website, people with Medicare benefits can begin using the new cards as soon as they receive them in the mail. Once Medicare beneficiaries receive their new card, they can choose to enroll in a Medicare Health (Medicare Advantage) or drug plan.

For more information, please call 1.800.MEDICARE (800.633.4227) or visit:

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.