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Printed Date: 9/22/2015
The Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) Look-up tool allows providers to use our secure eServices online portal to obtain the new MBI number when patients do not present their Medicare card. The MBI Look-up tool will only return an MBI if the new Medicare card has been mailed to avoid potential confusion if the MBI is used before the beneficiary receives their new Medicare card.
As background, the New Medicare Card Project, was established in the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015 which mandates the removal of the Social Security Number (SSN)-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) from Medicare cards by April 2019. CMS began mailing new Medicare cards with the MBI on April 2, 2018.
From April 1, 2018 to December 31, 2019, CMS will offer a transition period during which the system will accept both HICNs and MBIs on Medicare transactions (including eligibility requests and claims) for beneficiaries in the Medicare program prior to April 1, 2018 (i.e., those who received a HICN on their Medicare card). Note: Providers should not submit both numbers on the same transaction.
Beginning in January 2020, physicians may only use MBIs, with limited exceptions.
When the new Medicare card is mailed to people with Medicare, you will be able to use the eServices MBI Look-Up Tool to obtain a patient’s MBI. To submit an inquiry you must do the following:
Figure 1: MBI Lookup Tab
Look-Up Tool Status Results
If the inquiry successfully returns an MBI, the screen will refresh with the data at the bottom.
Figure 2: MBI Lookup Successful Response Screenshot
In the event that your MBI lookup request does not result in a successful response, eServices will display error messages to assist you. If any required fields are left blank or are not in a proper format, a message will appear advising you which fields to correct.
Figure 3: MBI Lookup Unsuccessful Response Screenshot
Check the CMS New Medicare Card Project Outreach & Education webpage and the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) Look-up Tool Clarification article (PDF, 320 KB) for additional information.
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Last Updated: 09/20/2018