New Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) Numbers


Beginning in April 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) began issuing new Medicare identification (ID) cards.

The new cards replaced the Social Security number (SSN)-based health insurance claim number (HICN) currently on the card with a unique Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) to protect Medicare beneficiaries from identity theft.

The new cards were mailed out in phases based on geographic location from April 2018 through April 2019. South Carolina members should have received their new cards after June 2018. However, any new enrolled Medicare applicants would have received new cards featuring MBI numbers at the time of enrollment.

Medicare has allowed a transition period of SSN information to MBI which will end Dec. 31, 2019. Since Oct. 1, 2018, the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) has distributed MBI information in the place of the HICN information through its current methods of inquiring Medicaid eligibility information.

Effective Jan. 1, 2020, all providers are required to use MBI to identify beneficiaries in provider transactions. If providers use SSN information after Dec. 31, 2019, it will not be accepted and subsequently any transactions using SSN information will not be accepted. Medicare beneficiaries should present new Medicare cards with MBI information to their providers in order to obtain services.

For more information on the new Medicare card and the MBI please visit

If you have any problems implementing the new Medicare cards, please contact the provider ombudsman for the new Medicare card at The provider ombudsman will send you information about the new Medicare cards and work inside CMS to settle any implementation problems that may arise.

Thank you for your continued support of the South Carolina Healthy Connections Medicaid program.

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