SSNRI is Coming? What's That?
Written by Editor   
Sunday, August 13, 2017 12:59 PM

SSNRI is the Social Security Number Removal Initiative (SSNRI). The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015, requires CMS to remove Social Security Numbers (SSNs) from all Medicare cards by April 2019. A new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) will replace the SSN-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) on the new Medicare cards for Medicare transactions like billing, eligibility status, and claim status. 

Under the new system, for each person enrolled in Medicare, CMS will assign a new MBI and send a new Medicare card.  This new MBI is confidential and, like the SSN, and should be protected as Personally Identifiable Information.

CMS is is taking the SSN off of Medicare cards to fight medical identity theft for people with Medicare.  They hope that by replacing the SSN-based HICN on all Medicare cards, they can better protect private health care and financial information and federal health care benefit and service payments.

CMS has already started work on the SSNRI and hopes to shift to the new MBIs by April 2018, when they will start sending the new Medicare cards with the MBI to all people with Medicare.  The MBI will be 11-characters in length and made up only of numbers and uppercase letters (no special characters). Each MBI is randomly generated and the characters are "non-intelligent," which means they don't have any hidden or special meaning. People with Medicare may start using their new Medicare cards and MBIs as soon as they get them.

Providers will be able to use either HICNs or MBIs to submit claims during the transition period. The transition period will begin no earlier than April 1, 2018 and run through December 31, 2019.  During the transition period, CMS will monitor the use of HICNs and MBIs to see how many are ready to use only MBIs by January 2020. They will also actively monitor the transition and adjustment to the new MBIs to make sure of their wide-spread adoption so Medicare operations aren’t interrupted.

Once the transition period’s over, you’ll still be able to use the HICN for:

  • Appeals If you’ve used the HICN on a claim, then you can use either the HICN or MBI for that claim’s appeals (and related forms).

  • Reports (CMS will use the HICN on these reports until further notice):

    • Incoming to CMS (quality reporting, Disproportionate Share Hospital data requests, etc.)

    • Outgoing from CMS (Provider Statistical & Reimbursement Report, Accountable Care Organization reports, etc.)

  • Retroactive enrollment

  • Adjustments Use the HICN when you originally submitted a HICN on the claim (Prescription Drug Event, Risk Adjustment and Encounter data, etc.)

  • Incoming information requests (inquiries, Medicare Secondary Payer information requests, Requests for Medical Documentation, etc.)

  • Incoming premium payments (Part A premiums, Part B premiums, Part D income related monthly adjustment amounts, etc.)