Preventing Medicare Identity Theft

October 19, 2017

Employee Benefit & HR News

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that a card kept in our wallet and handed out to strangers at every medical facility represents a significant identity theft exposure.  In an effort to reduce healthcare related fraud, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) mandates the removal of the Social Security Number-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) from Medicare ID cards.

Timing
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will mail out new Medicare ID cards beginning April 1, 2018 through April 1, 2019. The HICN, which contains the SSN, will be replaced with a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI).

Impact to Employers
Employers and their HR departments do not need to make any changes unless they capture and use the Medicare HICN for active employees or retirees.

Impact to Medicare Beneficiaries
Medicare beneficiaries who have a Medicare ID card will be required to use the new number on Medicare-related documents, including claims submission forms with medical providers.

Until the new ID card arrives in a beneficiary’s mailbox, the usual cautions on providing personal information apply.  See here for Medicare’s common-sense suggestions; https://www.medicare.gov/forms-help-and-resources/identity-theft/identity-theft.html

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About Kevin Guss

Kevin J. Guss is a Consultant with our Private Client Benefit Services, specializing in providing individual health coverage (on and off-exchange), Medicare supplements, life, LTC and disability insurance to clients of J.W. Terrill and strategic partners. With more than 22 years of industry experience, Kevin counts many retired professional athletes, celebrities, business leaders and prominent members of the community among his clients. He has a Group Benefits Associate designation from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, a Past President of St Louis Association of Health Underwriters and a current board member of the MO Association of Health Underwriters.

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