19 May Overhaul of Medicare Beneficiary Identifiers Coming in 2018
One element of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) passed in 2015 was a mandated change to Medicare beneficiary identifiers. Currently, Medicare beneficiaries are identified by their social security number. The reason for the change is due to concern regarding identity theft.
As reported in the MGMA Washington Connection this week, (click here for the full article) MGMA joined more than ninety other provider organizations in a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) voicing concerns regarding the plan for implementing the new beneficiary identifiers. Their concern is the agency’s plan for rolling out this major change, and the fact that they’re not going through the traditional public rulemaking process, allowing for industry feedback.
There are concerns related to the timeline for the project – CMS will no longer accept claims without the new identifier starting 01.01.2020. This requires significant changes to systems in order to accommodate the new identifier. They are also concerned about the lack of a system for looking up the identifier. Providers will have no way to look up the identifier if the patient does not bring it with them to their appointment. The letter cites resulting delays in patient care and/or payment to providers as a result.
We will keep you posted with information on this significant change coming down the pike in the future.
Here is a link to the full text of the letter sent to CMS: