Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is removing Social Security Numbers from Medicare cards to prevent fraud, fight identity theft, and keep taxpayer dollars safe for about 58 million Americans.  CMS recently revealed the new Medicare card design. The new Medicare card contains a unique, randomly-assigned number that replaces the current Social Security-based number. The new Medicare number will consist of a combination of numbers and upper case letters.

CMS will begin mailing the new cards to people with Medicare benefits in April 2018 to meet the deadline for replacing all existing Medicare cards by April 2019. People with Medicare will receive a new Medicare card in the mail, and will be instructed to safely and securely destroy their current Medicare card and keep their new Medicare number confidential. Issuance of the new number will not change benefits that people with Medicare receive.

Healthcare providers and people with Medicare will be able to use secure look-up tools that will allow quick access to the new Medicare numbers when needed. There will also be a 21-month transition period where doctors, healthcare providers, and suppliers will be able to use either their current SSN-based Medicare Number or their new, unique Medicare number, to ease the transition.

-Stephanie A. Bivens, Esq., CELA