Chaos for Workers’ Compensation Programs–The Elimination of Social Security Numbers?

Today’s post was shared by Jon L Gelman and comes from

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is readying a fraud prevention initiative that removes Social Security Numbers (SSN) from Medicare cards to help combat identity theft and safeguard taxpayer dollars. The question remains whether the elimination will cause chaos in state workers’ compensation programs since the SSNs have historically been utilized as personal identifiers.

For decades private and public insurance systems have relied upon SSN as a major identifier for benefits delivery and record keeping programs. The change surely is going to increase industry costs for the actual conversion process and create some bumps in the road going forward. Workers and their attorneys may also experience inconvenience in initially obtaining benefits and researching prior records. Furthermore, investigatory resources will suffer the burden additional costs in an attempt to convert information and have it readily available on demand. A critical issue remains for lawyers who handle this data and their ethical responsibility to maintain confidentiality.

CMS has rationalized that the new cards will use a unique, randomly-assigned number called a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI), to replace the Social Security-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) currently used on the Medicare card. CMS will begin mailing new cards in April 2018 and will meet the congressional deadline for replacing all Medicare cards by April 2019. Today, CMS kicks-off a multi-faceted…

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