January 2020 Client Newsletter
NEW MEDICARE CARD(S)
Just when the new Medicare cards would seem to be routine, we are hearing that some patients now have 2 of the new Medicare ID #'s! There has been no announcement why, but 2 of the reasons we have heard are that there was a compromise of the Medicare database or that some patients feel their ID has been compromised so have requested new cards. This is a current topic on the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) forum, so the source is reliable.
MGMA reached out to CMS and received the following response:
"CMS is committed to putting people with Medicare first by protecting them against fraud. Because of recent fraud takedowns by law enforcement CMS took proactive steps to deactivate and reassign new Medicare numbers for affected beneficiaries. By removing Social Security-based Health Insurance Claim Numbers (HICNs) from Medicare cards and replacing them with more secure Medicare numbers, we now have the ability to reassign beneficiaries new, secure Medicare numbers when they are impacted by fraud.
The beneficiaries described in the below scenario may have been included in this reassignment and their access to care should not be impacted. The beneficiaries received a new Medicare number and a card in the mail. We appreciate your diligence in utilizing the MBI Lookup Tool to ensure the beneficiaries services were not interrupted.
If the MBI is terminated, the old MBI will only work for the DOS before the MBI was termed, but the new MBI will work for all DOS. Since this was a changed MBI, they should bill the entire claim under the new number."
The message to all of us is to be sure to ask Medicare beneficiaries, as well as every new or established patient, for a copy of their insurance card at every visit. Unfortunately, this is necessary to avoid not getting paid. Even better, is to also verify eligibility before each visit either through the Healthpac Scheduler or using other sources (NaviNet, Medicare's MBI Lookup tool, etc.)
Reminder that effective January 1, 2020 Medicare will cease paying claims without the patient's new Medicare number. Be sure to REQUIRE patients to provide it or verify it - if not, consider not seeing the patient after January 1st & rescheduling the patient until the new card is provided.