All of the BCBS plans have been posting announcements about the new alpha/numeric prefixes that they’re going to be rolling out next year. Below is the announcement that Anthem put in a recent newsletter:
New member ID prefixes coming in 2018 The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) assigns member ID prefixes for all Blue Cross and Blue Shield branded Plans – Anthem Plans as well as non-Anthem Plans. There are a limited number of unused three-character, alpha only prefixes remaining, and they are expected to be exhausted in the 2nd or 3rd quarter of 2018. When that happens, the BCBSA will begin assigning prefixes that contain a combination of letters and numbers, or alpha-numeric prefixes.
What does this mean to you?
- It will be even more important to ask your patients for their most recent identification (ID) card.
- When submitting claims, enter the identification number exactly as it appears on the member’s ID card.
- Check your EDI Software to make sure it can accept alpha-numeric prefixes.
- Check any internal documents you may have and update any references of “alpha prefix” to “prefix”.
Note: Current three-character, alpha-only prefixes will not be affected by this change. Current prefixes will still be valid once the new alpha-numeric prefixes are issued, unless there is another need to change or remove a prefix currently in use.