Subscribe to Breaking News emails

You have successfully subscribed to the Breaking News email.

Subscribe today to be the first to to know about breaking news and special reports.

Medicare Starts Replacing Social Security Numbers on ID Cards

by Maggie Fox /
Close up view of a Medicare card.SuperStock / Newscom

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

Medicare beneficiaries are getting new ID cards soon that won't carry their Social Security numbers, the Health and Human Services Department said Tuesday.

Congress had told HHS to get the cards replaced by 2019 to fight identity theft. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said people will start getting new cards next April.

Related: New Law Aims to Protect Medicare Patients from Surprise Hospital Bill

 Close up view of a Medicare card. SuperStock / Newscom

"Personal identity theft affects a large and growing number of seniors," CMS said in a statement.

"People age 65 or older are increasingly the victims of this type of crime. Incidents among seniors increased to 2.6 million from 2.1 million between 2012 and 2014, according to the most current statistics from the Department of Justice."

Medicare, the federal health insurance plan for people over 65, covers about 57 million Americans.

"The Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) is confidential like the SSN and should be protected as personally identifiable information," CMS said. The new identifier will be 11 characters long and will include letters and numbers.

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
MORE FROM news

Have feedback?

How likely are you to recommend nbcnews.com to a friend or colleague?

0 = Very unlikely
10 = Very likely
Please select answer

Is your feedback about:

Please select answer

Leave your email if you’d like us to respond. (Optional)

Please enter a valid email address

Thank you!

Your feedback has been sent out. Please enjoy more of our content.

We appreciate your help making nbcnews.com a better place.