Hospice and the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI)

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have issued new identification cards to Medicare beneficiaries featuring the new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI), an 11-character combination of letters and numbers.

Hospice providers need this number when admitting a patient into service.

A sample Medicare Insurance Card with the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier highlighted

The Medicare Beneficiary Identifier, listed as the recipient’s Medicare Number, is shown on a sample Medicare Insurance Card.

Federal officials hope the MBI number will reduce fraud and identity theft by removing associations between beneficiaries’ Medicare identification and their personal information.

Protect Your New Medicare Card and MBI

All beneficiaries should have received their new Medicare card by April 2019.

If you’ve already received your new card, CMS recommends you destroy your old card and start using the new one.

Other tips for your Medicare Card and MBI number:

  • Keep your new card handy for any healthcare service covered by insurance, whether a routine doctor’s appointment or a hospice admissions visit.
  • Treat and protect your new card with the same security-focused mindset that you protect your credit card or driver’s license/state ID.
  • Share your new MBI only with healthcare providers, insurers, caregivers or other trusted individuals who may handle care on your behalf.

For more information on MBIs or the new Medicare cards, visit the CMS page that explains the transition from HICN to MBI. To learn about the Medicare hospice benefit, check out our guide.

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