New Medicare Cards On the Way To NC; Beware of Scams

North Carolina Medicare recipients will soon be receiving their new Medicare cards, which include a new unique Medicare number to replace the current Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN).  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is taking this step to protect people with Medicare from fraudulent use of social security numbers, which can lead to identity theft and illegal use of Medicare benefits. The law requires CMS to remove social security numbers from all Medicare cards by April 2019.

The North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) has also learned of a rise in phone scams targeting Medicare beneficiaries as these new cards are mailed out. Help educate your Medicare patients that Medicare does not initiate calls to beneficiaries. If they are contacted by someone claiming to be from Medicare and asking for personal information, they should hang up and contact the Medicare Fraud Hotline at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

CMS began mailing the new cards in April in successive waves depending on which state you live in, with North Carolina being slated to begin receiving them after July 2018. Review where CMS is in the mailing process.

For practice operations: Your systems and business processes must be ready to accept the new Medicare number, which CMS calls the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier or MBI. A transition period when you can use either the HICN or the MBI to exchange data and information with CMS started April 1, 2018, and will run through Dec. 31, 2019.

For your patients: If someone with Medicare says they did not get a card, print and give them the “Still Waiting for Your New Card?” handout (in English or Spanish) or instruct them to:

  • Sign into to see if their card has been mailed. If so, they can print an official card. They need to create an account if they do not already have one
  • Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). There might be something that needs to be corrected, such as updating their mailing address.
  • Continue to direct people with Medicare to gov/NewCard for information about the mailings and to sign up to get email about the status of card mailings in their state.

More information on the transition to the new MBI:


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