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Medicare begins issuing new cards and ID numbers this April

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Starting in April 2018, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will begin mailing new ID cards to all people with Medicare, including Kaiser Permanente Washington Medicare members. Mailings will be staggered throughout the year. The process will take about 12 months and is expected to be complete in April of 2019.

Why the change?

In order to make people with Medicare less vulnerable to medical identity theft, CMS is changing the design of the Medicare ID card, and replacing beneficiaries’ Social Security Numbers with a unique, randomly generated 11-digit Medicare ID number.

Who is impacted?

All beneficiaries will receive a new card — including those who are currently active, deceased or archived, or new. CMS is also working closely with other stakeholders including business partners, providers, and health plans to ensure systems and business processes can support the new card.

Easing the transition

Change for the Medicare population can be confusing. Use this opportunity to talk with your clients about why CMS is issuing the new ID cards. Reassure them that they should see no impact in their relationship with their health plan or provider. These and the following suggestions can help ensure a smooth transition to the new ID card:

  • Make sure your clients’ mailing address is up to date with the Social Security Administration. This will help them receive their new card as quickly as possible. If their address needs to be corrected, they should contact Social Security at gov/myaccount or 1-800-772-1213. TTY users can call 1-800-325-0778.
  • Instruct your clients to destroy their old ID cards as soon as the new card arrives. The new Medicare numbers won’t change Medicare benefits, so cards should be used as soon as they are received.
  • Advise your clients to be patient. Mailing everyone a new card will take time. Your client’s card might arrive earlier or later than their friend’s or neighbor’s.

Health plan ID cards

This change won’t impact our members existing Kaiser Permanente Washington identification cards. Members and mutual clients should continue to use their existing Kaiser Permanente Washington ID card. It includes their unique membership information, which is needed for Kaiser Permanente services and care. Read about the new Kaiser Permanente Washington digital ID cards that are available to members.

For more information

If you have questions about the new Medicare ID cards, call Kaiser Permanente Medicare Sales at 1-800-446-8882. If your clients have questions, they should call Kaiser Permanente Medicare Member Services at 1-888-901-4600.

All plans offered and underwritten by Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington

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