In the beginning of April, 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) began mailing new Medicare cards to beneficiaries across the country. They are set to be mailed out in waves over the next 20 months, with the final wave set to be mailed out in December 2019.
The primary reason for the new cards is that they are phasing out the use of Social Security Numbers (SSNs). Instead of having a person’s SSN printed on the card, each person will have a Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN). This is being done to fight identity theft. Various advocacy groups and government agencies have been requesting this change for years.
For now, you can still use social security numbers when making claims. However, starting in January 2020, for most cases, you will have to use the newly assigned HICN instead.
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