Starting next month, you’ll be able to look up your Medicare patients’ new Medicare numbers (known as the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier, or MBI) through the secure web portal of your Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC). If you don’t already have access to your MAC’s portal, sign up now.
Note, you can discover a patient’s MBI this way only if Medicare has mailed the beneficiary a new Medicare card. Medicare is mailing cards to its beneficiaries in phases by geographic location. Ask your patients for their new cards when they come for care if they are newly enrolled in Medicare or in an area of the country where Medicare has already begun mailing the new cards. If patients don’t have their new cards when they come for care, you still can look up their MBI, assuming the new Medicare card has been mailed to them.
Starting in October, Medicare will also return MBIs on remittance advices when you submit claims with valid and active Health Insurance Claim Numbers – the Medicare numbers that MBIs are replacing. For more information, see the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ web site.
– Kent Moore, Senior Strategist for Physician Payment at the American Academy of Family Physicians
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