Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) Reminder

Published 07/13/2020

Updated “Get It, Use It” Messaging
As a reminder, effective January 1, 2020, providers and suppliers of Medicare services must submit Medicare Beneficiary Identifiers (MBI) for all Medicare transactions with limited exceptions. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) replaced the Social Security Number (SSN)-based Health Insurance Claim Numbers (HICN) with the MBI to offer better identity protection. The MBI does not change Medicare benefits. Remember to always protect the MBI as Personally Identifiable Information (PII) as it is confidential.  

There are three ways you and your office staff can obtain a patient’s MBI.

  1. Ask your Medicare patients. As part of your normal process to verify insurance coverage, ask your Medicare patients for their MBI card at the point of service. If they don’t present it when they come for care, give them the Get Your New Medicare Card (PDF, 563 KB) flyer which directs the beneficiary to contact 1–800–MEDICARE (800–633–4227) or sign into their account to obtain their card.
  2. Use the secure Palmetto GBA eServices Portal MBI Look-up Tool. The MBI Look-up directly links to Eligibility in eServices (JJ Part A, JM Part A, JJ Part B, JM Part B, and Home Health and Hospice). You can look up MBIs for your Medicare patients when they don’t or can’t give them to you so long as you have your patient’s first name, last name, date of birth and SSN to search. If you do not have the required data elements to search, have your patients contact 1–800–MEDICARE or sign into their account.

    CMS revised its MLN Matters Number: SE18006 (PDF, 212 KB) article on March 19, 2020, to clarify that you need the beneficiary's first name, last name, date of birth, and SSN to use MBI Look-up Tool. All other information remains the same.
  3. Check the remittance advice. If you previously saw a patient and received a claim payment decision based on a claim submission with an HICN before January 1, 2020, look at that remittance advice. CMS returned the MBI on every remittance advice when a provider submitted a claim with a valid and active HICN from October 1, 2018, through December 31, 2019.