Medicare’s Social Security Number Removal Initiative (SSNRI)

SSNRI - Medicare’s Social Security Number Removal Initiative

What is MACRA?

Congress passed the Medicare Access and CHIP Re-authorization Act (MACRA) on April 16, 2015.  Section 501 of MACRA requires CMS to remove Social Security Numbers from Medicare ID cards and replace existing Medicare Health Insurance Claim Numbers (HICNs) with a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI).


The Medicare Access and CHIP Re-authorization ACT (MACRA) of 2015 requires the removal of Social Security Numbers (SSNs) from all Medicare cards by April of 2019.  There will be a new randomly generated Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) which will replace the social security number on new Medicare cards for Medicare transactions such as medical claims billing, healthcare eligibility verification, and medical claims processing.

What is the change?

Under the new system, Medicare will send new Medicare cards with the new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) to all Medicare recipients.  This new initiative is being put in place to:  allow for private health care and financial information and for Federal health care benefit and service payments.   The federal government forbids private healthcare companies to use social security numbers on insurance cards; however, Medicare has continued this practice.

CMS has already started this project.  No earlier than April 2018, new Medicare cards with the MBI will be mailed to Medicare recipients.

Transition Period:

At this time, CMS has a transition period allowing claims to be transmitted with either the HICN or the MBI.  The transition period will begin no earlier than April 1, 2018 thru December 31, 2019.

Advantages of MBI over SSN:

Seniors have always been requested to carry their Medicare card in their wallet.  It is well documented that seniors have been targets of thieves and identity theft. Social Security numbers has been the key to identity theft including cyber attacks.   This step is being taken to minimize the risk of identity theft and reduce fraud opportunities.

Impact in Billing:

Internal billing staff training and educational levels haven’ kept up with healthcare industry changes and governmental regulations. As the phrase says “you don’t know what you don’t know”.  If physician front desk and billing staff is not informed of the impending change – claims will not be paid, but will be rejected. Physicians front desk personal need to be informed of the change so that they may request new Medicare cards from their Medicare patients.  Medicare id number will need to be updated in the practice management software for each of these patients.

About MGSI:

MGSI, a Florida-based, national medical billing company with more than 24 years of experience in the healthcare domain. As your medical billing & coding partner, we will insure that your Medicare patient’s recipient numbers are updated to avoid claims denials and will always keep you ahead of the curve with upcoming changes in the healthcare industry..  For more information, please call us on: 877-896-6474  or email: