New Medicare Cards are in the Mailbox

Last June’s post was about new Medicare cards.  At the time of the post, it seemed like a long time away and something that could be pushed off until a later time.  Well, that time is upon us.  Beginning next month, the federal government will begin issuing new Medicare cards.  Gone are the days of using the patient’s Social Security numbers as their ID numbers.  The new Medicare cards will have unique, randomly assigned numbers and letters that replace Social Security numbers.  The new Medicare cards are being mailed in waves beginning April 1 and continuing through April 2019.

What the new Medicare cards mean to your practice

This is good news and bad news for all medical practices.  The good news is that the old cards will work until December 31, 2019.  The bad news is this means the front office staff has to wade through this transition for 21 months!  Health care providers must use the new card numbers beginning January 2020.  Some practices may think they can put this off but this time the patients are likely to force the transition.

This change will undoubtedly result in some of your patients having questions and concerns   The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is encouraging Medicare patients to bring their new card to their next visit.  They are informing seniors that the change in cards is to protect them from medical identity theft.  CMS is also informing patients that if they forget their card then their health care provider can look it up for them.  If patients are also in a Medicare Advantage plan then the Medicare Advantage card is the main card for Medicare.  However, it is better to be safe than sorry so make sure you add the new card to the patient’s record, as well.