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NEW Medicare Cards Soon to be Mailed

February 14, 2018

The Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) is a Medicare beneficiary’s identification number, used for processing claims and determining eligibility for services.

The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015 requires removal of the Social Security Number (SSN)-based HICN from Medicare cards to address current risk of beneficiary medical identity theft.

MACRA requires that CMS mail out new Medicare cards with a new Medicare Number by April 2019. Medicare will start mailing new cards in April 2018.

The new Medicare numbers won’t change Medicare benefits. People with Medicare can start using their new Medicare cards right away.


Additional Information:

•Newly-eligible beneficiaries will get a card with a unique number, regardless of where they live

•Existing beneficiaries will get a new card over a period of approximately 12 months

•The mailing will include the new Medicare card and a letter with instructions

•Distribution of cards will be randomized by geographic location

•All existing cards will be replaced by April 2019 statutory deadline

•Beneficiaries should use the new card once they get it, but either the SSN-based or the new random alphanumeric-based cards can be used through December 2019

•Beginning January 1, 2020 only the new card will be usable

•The Railroad Retirement Board will issue new cards to RRB beneficiaries


Find more technical information, detailed updates, training opportunities, and materials to share on the web:


Comments and questions are always welcome! Send to:   NewMedicareCardSSNRemoval@cms.hhs.gov