The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today announced plans to offer quick access to the new Medicare Beneficiary Identifiers when available through secure look-up tools for health care providers and beneficiaries. The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 requires CMS to remove Social Security numbers from all Medicare cards by April 2019 to help prevent identity theft. CMS expects to begin mailing Medicare cards containing the new identifier to beneficiaries in April 2018, and to update providers about the initiative through regular calls before and after the new cards are mailed. Providers will have until Dec. 31, 2019 to transition to the new identifier for billing and other Medicare transactions. For more on the SSN removal initiative, visit www.cms.gov/medicare/ssnri.