Medicare Clients to Receive New Medicare Cards Starting April 2018

Medicare has a major change coming this year and I want to make sure you are aware. The Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services (CMS) will be replacing all members’ cards starting in April 2018. They are replacing the cards based on a provision in the Medicare and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). MACRA section 501 requires CMS to remove Social Security numbers (SSN) from Medicare cards and to replace the use of SSNs with new, randomly generated Medicare beneficiary identifiers, or MBIs by April 2019, to protect the individual’s identity.

This massive card replacement will affect clients who use Medicare Supplement Insurance to fill in the gaps in their Medicare Part A and Part B coverage. Individuals insured with a Medicare Advantage plan will also get new original Medicare cards, but they should continue to use their Medicare Advantage plan cards when seeking medical care.

The new cards will look just like they have in the past with a red, white, and blue palette, except these cards will not include the individual’s SSN, and will instead have a Medicare number. The MBI on their Medicare card includes both numbers and letters for optimal security. See below what the new cards will look like with the new MBI number:

Starting April 2018, newly eligible beneficiaries will get a card with a unique number regardless of where they live. For those individuals who currently have a Medicare card, CMS will begin mailing new Medicare cards over a period of approximately 12 months based on geographic location and some other factors. Ohio and Kentucky will be of the last states to get the new cards. Below is a chart that shows, based on the area, when individuals will receive their new card:

Beginning in April 2018, individuals with Medicare will be able to go to to sign up for emails about the card mailing and to check the card mailing status in their state. Individuals may use their card immediately upon receiving it. They will be able to use either the SSN-based or the new random alphanumeric-based numbers through December 2019. Beginning January 1, 2020, only the new cards will be accepted.

With any change in Medicare comes confusion. This is a great opportunity to reach out to your clients to explain any changes and what they can expect. Click here for a one-page flyer from CMS that outlines the details of the new Medicare card. This is a great reference for your clients.

Webinar: Double Your Commissions With Hospital Indemnity Plans

Double your commissions with Hospital Indemnity Plans!

Join Cornerstone’s Ryan Carroll for a webinar discussing hospital indemnity plans, how to sell them, and just how they will benefit your business.

Learn different strategies for offering and communicating plan options to your clients and maximize your health coverage portfolio. Offer hospital indemnity plans as a single-packaged solution and find out how they can profit your business.

  • Thursday March 15, 2018
  • 9:30 am–10:30 am
  • Register
  • Thursday April 12, 2018
  • 9:30 am–10:30 am
  • Register

Questions? Contact your Cornerstone representative for answers!


UHC Will Now Process Tamiflu Coverage

In response to this year’s severe flu epidemic and the shortage of generic anti-flu medicine, UnitedHealthcare will process coverage for the brand version of the flu medicine, Tamiflu, as a single-source brand, effective immediately.

For more information, contact your Cornerstone representative today.

UHC Adds Shingrix Vaccine To Preventive Benefits

UnitedHealthcare will include the Shingrix vaccine as a covered benefit for certain customers beginning April 1, 2018. This vaccine is available in network through most physicians’ offices, urgent care centers, and convenience care clinics.

For more information, contact your Cornerstone representative.

UPDATES TO CLEVELAND TRAINING SESSIONS: Medicare Training Sessions with Cornerstone

NOTE: The training for February 22, 2018, has been rescheduled as a webinar for March 22, 2018, at 2:00 pm. See below for additional details…


Join Cornerstone at our Cleveland office this month as we present a series of specialized training sessions with our carrier partners that are geared toward helping you maximize your book of business.

TRAINING SPECIAL: Attend one or two sessions and receive a free CE voucher. Attend all three sessions and receive two free CE vouchers, valued at 24-credit hours!

HumanaTuesday, Feb. 27th

10:00 am–12:00 pm

Humana D-SNP

Are you looking to increase your client base? Please attend this session to learn how to sell Humana’s  D-SNP product to clients all year around!

Content that will be discussed:

  • Humana’s plan design
  • What’s the sales sizzle?
  • How to target the product

Cornerstone’s Cleveland Office

4500 Rockside Road Suite 330

Independence, OH 44131



Thursday, March 22nd

2:00 pm–3:00 pm

WEBINAR: Grow Your MMO Business

Please join us to learn what resources are available to help grow your Medical Mutual of Ohio business.

Topics to be discussed:

  • Online tools
  • Sales events
  • PCP visit program

Access code: 927 781 551


Trump Administration Proposes Rule for Short-Term Health Plans

Under a proposed rule by the Trump administration released on Tuesday, insurers will again be able to sell short-term health insurance good for up to 12 months. This rule would allow short-term plans to add more choices to the market at a lower cost and could offer broader provider networks than ACA plans in rural areas.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said, “We want to open up affordable alternatives to unaffordable Affordable Care Act policies.”

Here are some talking points regarding the rule:

  • 60 days to comment on the proposed rule before changes are made to the current rules
  • If approved, insurers may be able to sell short-term health insurance for up to 12 months
  • Comments also being sought to extend beyond 12 months and if there are ways to guarantee renewability of the plans
  • No changes to requirements for STM plans – subject to pre-ex and not held to ACA requirements/not ACA compliant, med questionnaire required, etc.



Trump Administration Proposes Rule to Loosen Curbs on Short-Term Health Plans

Fact Sheet: Short-Term, Limited-Duration Insurance Proposed Rule

Click here to review the proposed rule

Proposed rule would loosen restrictions on short-term health plans

Narrowing Medicare “Doughnut Hole” Will Close In 2019

For Medicare Part D beneficiaries with high prescription drug expenses, the “Doughnut Hole” means they pay more for their medicine once costs reach a certain threshold. Narrowing each year since the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, the gap was scheduled to close in 2020. With the 2/16 budget deal, the doughnut hole will now close in 2019.

Read the full story here.

WEBINAR: Join Humana For Their 2018 Veterans Health Care Training

This webinar will help educate you with the VA, Tricare, and CHAMPVA. Learn the selling technique that will help you connect with veterans across the table!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

8:30 am–10:00 am

Meeting number (access code): 591-347-694

Click here to add to calendar

UnitedHealthcare Is Helping Its Members Lose Weight

UnitedHealthcare’s Real Appeal weight loss program is part of most of their fully insured health plans at no cost to the group or their employees. This program is available for UMR and UHC ASO self-funded groups as well.

The Real Appeal program is designed to help participants lose weight and prevent weight-related health conditions. Each member enrolled in the program will receive one year with a personalized transformation coach who can help customize the program to fit their needs. The program also includes weekly online group classes, interactive videos, and a Success Kit, which is full of healthy weight management tools including fitness guides, recipe books, weight scale, and more.

Last fall, UHC celebrated the success of their 100,000+ participants that have collectively reached a new milestone of one million pounds lost:

  • 82% of the participants lost weight
  • 38% had 5% or more weight loss
  • 10 pounds on average were lost per person

Click here to read the full whitepaper that details the medical cost savings observed from Real Appeal.


Contact your Cornerstone representative for additional details.

Anthem Reduces the Paper Trail With Electronic ID Cards

Small group and individual Anthem members enrolled in ACA plans now have the option to choose electronic ID cards without receiving an additional hard copy. Members can view their electronic ID card on the Anthem Anywhere mobile app, even without internet connection. The electronic ID card adds the convenience of emailing or faxing a copy of the ID to a provider.

Contact your Cornerstone representative with any questions.


Source: Electronic ID cards go anywhere with members