Am I required to give my social security number to my doctor?
The answer to this is NO.
While it is helpful for providers and facilities to have your social security number, it is not something that they need for billing purposes. Insurance companies identify you by the number they supply as your identification number, along with your date of birth and address.
Why do doctors ask for social security number?
At one time, all health insurance ID numbers were social security numbers, but that changed many years ago as private health insurance companies abandoned this practice in response to the rise in identity theft. In fact, currently only Medicare uses your social security number as your ID, and that practice is rapidly coming to an end. By 2019, Medicare must begin issuing Medicare cards with new non-social security number identifiers.
What To Do If Your Doctor Asks For Your Social Security Number
When registering at a hospital, lab, medical facility, or doctor’s office, DO NOT provide your social security number, even when it is listed as a question on the in-take forms. Many facilities still ask the question hoping that patients will provide the response. But the item should be left blank to protect you. If pressured for the answer by a staff member, simply inform them that your social security number is not required for billing or clinical purposes. If necessary, ask to speak to a supervisor who should be well aware of this.
Why you shouldn’t give your doctor your Social Security number
Medical providers have access to a significant amount of personal information that, in the wrong hands, could compromise your identity and your credit. Most of this is needed in order for you to receive care. However, they aren’t entitled to everything. Withholding social security information is your right and it is one way for you to help protect yourself against identity theft.
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