October 10, 2016

Social Security Number Removal Initiative (SSNRI)

By Melissa Korey, Supervisor, Advisory Services

Social Security Number Removal Initiative (SSNRI)

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is being mandated by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) to remove social security numbers from Medicare ID cards and replace existing Medicare health Insurance claim numbers (HICNs) with a new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI), to help prevent fraudulent activities such as identity theft. The transition to the new MBI format will affect approximately 60 million Medicare beneficiaries.

The MBI will consist of 11 characters and include a combination of numbers and uppercase letters. CMS expects to begin transitioning to the new MBI format beginning April 1, 2018, and continuing through December 31, 2019. During the transition period, CMS will accept either the HICN or MBI, but providers are being encouraged to start utilizing MBIs as they become active.

This change will affect the admissions and intake operations for all Medicare providers. Now would be an appropriate time to review your policies and procedures for verification of benefits and start planning for the conversion.

For additional detail on the SSNRI, visit: https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/SSNRI/Index.html.

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