Social Security Number Removal Initiative Reminder: Get Your Systems Ready

By Elizabeth Woodcock, MBA, FACMPE, CPC
June, 2017

As you know, beginning in April 2018, CMS will start mailing Medicare cards with new Medicare Beneficiary Identifiers (MBIs) to all individuals covered by Medicare. The MBI will, after a transition period, replace the Social Security Number (SSN)-based Health Insurance Claim Number for transactions such as billing, eligibility status, and claim status. Make sure your systems are ready:

  • Visit Medicare Learning Network’s (MLN) Social Security Number Removal Initiative (SSNRI) Home and Provider webpages for the latest details about the transition. Subscribe to the weekly MLN Connects newsletter for updates and new information.
  • Verify your patients’ addresses. Your patients will not get a new card if their address is not correct. If the address you have on file is different from the Medicare address shown in electronic eligibility transaction responses, ask your patients to correct their address in Medicare’s records through Social Security. This may require coordination between your billing and office staff.
  • Attend MLN’s quarterly calls to get more information. MLN will let you know when calls are scheduled in MLN Connects.
  • Work with MLN to help your Medicare patients with the change to the MBI. This fall (2017), MLN will be in touch with ways to help.
  • Get ready to use the new MBI Format. Ask your billing and office staff if your system will be ready to accept the 11 digit alpha numeric MBI. If you use vendors to bill Medicare, ask them about their MBI practice management system changes and make sure they are ready for the change. Make and internally test changes to your practice management systems and business processes by April 2018, before CMS mails the new Medicare cards.
  • If you are a vendor who partners with Medicare providers to bill Medicare, communicate with them about your system readiness and what they should expect to see from you beginning April 2018.

Elizabeth Woodcock, MBA, FACMPE, CPC

About the Author

Elizabeth Woodcock is the founder and principal of Woodcock & Associates. She has focused on medical group operations and revenue cycle management for more than 20 years and has led educational sessions for the Medical Group Management Association, the American Congress of Obstetricians & Gynecologists, and the American Medical Association. She has authored and co-authored many books. She is frequently published and quoted in national publications including The Wall Street Journal, Family Practice Management, MGMA Connexion, and American Medical News. Elizabeth is a Fellow in the American College of Medical Practice Executives and a Certified Professional Coder. In addition to a Bachelor of Arts from Duke University, she completed a Master of Business Administration in healthcare management from The Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania.


The contents of The Sentinel are intended for educational/informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Policyholders are urged to consult with their personal attorney for legal advice, as specific legal requirements may vary from state to state and/or change over time.