One of the hot topics at WEDIcon 2017 was the CMS’s New Medicare Card Project. This fraud prevention initiative removes Social Security numbers from Medicare cards to help fight identity theft. But changing these ID numbers creates new challenges for claims and reimbursement processing.
The new cards will use a unique, randomly-assigned number called a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI), which will replace the Social Security-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) now used on Medicare cards. The CMS will begin mailing the new cards to Medicare members in April 2018.
As a result, the clock is ticking for stakeholders to update their systems and processes in time to accommodate the MBI. WEDIcon convened a payer-provider panel that covered how the initiative will impact healthcare, and shared recommendations to help stakeholders prepare.
CMS’s Dr. Monica Kay spoke about the initiative and its timeline, and reviewed what the industry must be prepared for in the coming months. Also on the panel: Shelley Mueller Stevenson, Director of Government Programs Practice for Change Healthcare, along with executives from the American Hospital Association, Magellan Health Services, LabCorp, Aetna, AARP, Medical Group Management Association, and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care.
Some of the challenges Shelley Mueller Stevenson said payers might face before and after the implementation included:
- How to capture the ID number at enrollment?
- How to connect a new enrollee with a past enrollee if their numbers are different?
- What if a member had a name change due to marital status or other life event?
- How can payers ensure interoperability readiness?
In addition to providing some answers to those questions, Shelley Mueller Stevenson also spoke about need to educate providers about the new Medicare ID cards, and the need to evaluate provider portal design for eligibility and ID numbers. Other topics explored by the panel included industry interoperability readiness, the need for a phased beneficiary card-mailing,and dual identifier production-transition period, and maintaining workflow continuity to minimize disruption.
Answers to these questions and issues can also be found in a new ebook that provides a backgrounder and counsel for dealing with the new MBI cards.