New Medicare Cards

Medicare will begin mailing the new Medicare Cards out on April 1st, 2018. They will release cards by geographic area. The first mail wave will occur between April and June 2018 and the states that will be included are:

  • Delaware

  • District of Columbia

  • Maryland

  • Pennsylvania

  • Virginia

  • West Virginia

  • Alaska

  • American Samoa

  • California

  • Guam

  • Hawaii

  • Northern Mariana Islands

  • Oregon

CMS will release the other mailing waves throughout the next year. Remind your clients that there are multiple factors that will determine when cards are mailed and that they may arrive at different times.

These new cards will contain a new number. The new numbers will no longer contain beneficiary social security numbers. This is in attempt to protect those with Medicare from fraudulent use from identity theft. The numbers will be now referred to as Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI). The new MBI will have 11 characters; the characters are numbers and upper-case letters. Numbers are 0-9 and letters A-Z, except for S, L, O, I, B and Z.

The new MBIs will not affect or change Medicare benefits. If your client has an MAPD or PDP plan, they will continue to use the health insurance card assigned by the carrier.

You cannot submit both numbers on the same transaction. When assisting your clients in their enrollment process, encourage your clients to begin using their new MBIs as soon as they receive it, to get into the habit. If, for some reason, they forget the card, there is a grace period. The grace period will last until 12/31/2019. On January 1st, 2020, beneficiaries will only be allowed to use the new MBI.

When you meet with clients, ask them if they have received their new card. Ensure them that you will only use it for Medicare-related business. This number is confidential and you, as their liaison, need to protect it. If they do not know what their MBI is, they can log into to get it. Medicare patients with Railroad Benefits can ask for a replacement card through the RRB SMAC Beneficiary Contact Center at 1-800-833-4455, log into, or call the RRB Office at 1-877-772-5772.


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