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Welcome to the ProtectMyID Blog

Lessons and stories from the front lines of fighting identity theft.

 

Protect Your Social Security Number at the Doctor’s Office

Jan 05

 

It’s cold season and it’s very likely that you will be heading to the doctor at some point. Before working with ProtectMyID, I filled out forms in my doctor’s office without a second thought, writing down my date of birth, Social Security number and other sensitive information.  After working here, I realized that I can take proactive steps to protect my Social Security number, and those often begin in places like doctors’ offices.

For example, did you know that most doctors’ offices do not need your Social Security number for their files (even though most forms ask for it)? They like to get your SSN as an easy way to track you to ensure payment. However, when I asked my doctor’s office assistant if that information was really needed, she said as long as I had an insurance number, they didn’t need my SSN. Now, I leave that portion of forms blank.

The Social Security Administration offers the following advice to people who want to protect their SSN.

You should be very careful about sharing your number and card to protect against misuse of your number. Giving your number is voluntary even when you are asked for the number directly. If requested, you should ask:

  • Why your number is needed
  • How your number will be used
  • What happens if you refuse
  • What law requires you to give your number

The answers to these questions can help you decide if you want to give your Social Security number. The decision is yours. 

Protecting your identity starts with taking easy steps to protect yourself, like asking what will be done with your personal information in the doctor’s office. If you don’t like the answer you hear, don’t give out your information. To learn more about ways to protect yourself, visit www.protectmyid.com.

48 Comments Add your comment

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Becky Frost . Becky Frost said: RT @ProtectMyID: Ways to protect yourself from #identitytheft at the Dr's office. http://budurl.com/SSNatDr #idtheft [...]

  2. Nico Silorio
    Feb 05 at 04:36

    Great article! I have just read a blog that states that he went to his dentist and he was somehow obliged to give out his social security number. I really appreciate this one as I am an someone who is reckless when it comes to giving out information about myself. I want to protect myself by not letting someone know my place, my birthdate, and all other crucial information that could harm me. I would try to go onto your site and look at some details about social security number. Thanks for this article. I am hoping to hear more from you.

    [Reply]

  3. giveitaway
    Feb 22 at 05:07

    Amazing, the doctor’s billing departments really believe they MUST have your ss#!!! This is what happens when management or administrators do NOT inform the employee’s!!!

    [Reply]

    Jack Reply:

    They want your info so they can sell it to pharma and insurance companies. Insurance co’s who can use it to use ‘pre-existing’ conditions as an excuse to NOT pay their share of your bill.

    They like using you like lab rats without having to compensate you.

    My advice? DON’T GIVE IT TO THEM if you are paying cash.

    [Reply]

    jen Reply:

    I have been a Billing Supervisor for over 18 years. That is the stupidest statement I have ever read. That is NEVER done.

    [Reply]

    Becky Reply:

    Thank you for sharing your perspective. We welcome comments, but remind people to remain civil. If someone shares an experience, please don’t say it never happens. Feel free to say you have never seen it in your experience. Thanks again.

    [Reply]

    Jan Reply:

    I agree with Jen, as I’m a billing mgr. for a 3 Dr. office. The only reason we ask for a SS# is to make sure we have the correct pt’s chart for an appt. since a number of pt’s have the same name in this town. Yes, we validate them with their DOB as well, but the last 4 digit’s of SS are often helpful too.

    [Reply]

    Aaron Reply:

    Doctors office do not sell SSN to pharma and ins. companies. Yeah, keep things civil but know your information before you go posting something falsely that will only cause more confusion rather than helping.
    I am a Office Manager and Billing Coordinator at a dentist office in KY. We have never sold anyones information and the numerous other admin folks that I know at several office around the state do not do that either. Their are thousands of other places to get that information well before anyone steps into a doctors office. And yes, that information is mainly taken for collections……insurance only cover part of your bill. A majority of doctors offices carry over $70000 to $200000 worth of AR(accounts receivables) every year from where folks bail out on paying their bills.
    Get your information right and maybe folks should know their doctors a bit better.

    [Reply]

    Theresa Reply:

    I agree with Aaron. We require a SS# when we will have to bill for a balnce due after insurance has paid, or if you are making payments to our office. Why should an office “loan” you large amounts of money without the proper security? If you do not wish to release your SS#, then we require that you Pay In Full for the treatment that you received at the time of the appointment.

    [Reply]

    Bob Reply:

    This is exactly what is wrong with the system. As long as Doctors require this personal information or they deny services than what right does the patient really have? The right to give away their civil liberties in exchange for medical services? Until people stand up for their rights and refuse to give over their personal information nothing is going to change.

    Wack Reply:

    That is your problem. And if your amount is large, you must pre-approve by insurance so that patient knows his/her liability before taking treatment. Sometimes i have seen dentists are worse than mafias!!!

  4. Marina Gipps
    Apr 13 at 18:20

    It was Clark Howard of CNN who had mentioned that the majority of identity theft occurs in hospitals and medical offices. (I’m paraphrasing–wish I had the exact quote). I never give out my personal information like where I live, etc…unless it is truly necessary. Getting the last four digits of my ss# is like pulling teeth. i’ve opted out of every application on the planet. I’m on “do not mail” AND “do not call” lists– you name it. I know it takes secretaries at offices aback when you say that you are protecting your privacy by not giving out a number but keep in mind that doctor’s offices photocopy driver’s licenses and your insurance card as well (if you have one) and they also have your date of birth on record. What I’ve found is that it is important to not give your date of birth out to companies that are trying to sell you a trip, some magazines etc…as well. There are too many marketers that are collecting your private data and selling it to people that run social network websites. People need to be careful with social network sites as well. Even those geneology sites are bad for identity theft. Oftentimes what looks innocent or harmless is worse than expected!

    [Reply]

    Becky Reply:

    Marina,

    Great job on being so proactive about protecting your identity! Your comment is very insightful. Thank you.

    [Reply]

    Marina Gipps Reply:

    Hi Becky- As God awful luck would have it, somebody filed a tax return using my name as well as social security in 2011 after I left my post. The proper authorities have been contacted & I will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.

    [Reply]

    Becky Reply:

    Marina,

    Sorry that happened to you. Best of luck as you work through this.

    [Reply]

    Jack Reply:

    When signing up for public sites that ask for a D.O.B., make one up! Use numbers that are easy to remember!

    Example: 1/1/1960

    [Reply]

    Justin Smith Reply:

    Haha Jack, I have done this for years!!! I always deny my social security number when people giving me service request it, ie the alarm company, cable company, power company. If they tell me I HAVE to give it to them, I then tell them that I HAVE to go to a different company. You should see how fast that HAVE turns into “ok thats fine”. The other one is my military ID. Federal law and UCMJ prevents anyone except medical and federal agencies from making copies of it for any purpose, regardless of how official it may be. They do that for anti-counterfeiting purposes, especially with the new dawn of terrorism. When I give them my MIL ID, for verification, people always try to copy it. I tell them they cant, they can verify my service by looking at it and seeing its valid. Once again, I always get the WE HAVE TO, then I just state that its a violation of federal law and the UCMJ and they can be charged for copying it, that HAVE TO turns into OH THATS FINE.

    [Reply]

  5. Karen
    Aug 01 at 14:13

    Provide a single example of anything that was kept private after being promised it would be. You can’t. And there is a lot more at stake than identity theft (though I realize this is an ID protection site). When Social Security numbers were first issued the American public was promised they would never be used for any purpose other than Social Security and just look at how often you’re required to give it up under threat of law or denial of services.

    Until the people cease debating the merits of policy and begin upholding the fundamental principals of freedom, which includes the right to secrecy and to be left alone, we will continue the downward spiral into horrific oppression.

    The day you’re forced to hand over your papers on the way to the showers is the day you’ll know it’s too late.

    [Reply]

    Becky Reply:

    Karen,

    Thanks for the passionate response! Taking control of who you share your SSN with is a good way to protect your identity.

    [Reply]

    Justin Smith Reply:

    Well said Karen. I have noticed things change, laws, rules, society, PC, political motivation, etc . They usually change in small increments so that we dont notice them. In which case, over a 40 year period, you go from completely having the freedom to do a certain thing, to being thrown in jail for doing that same thing 40 years down the road. If they made that change overnight, no one would notice really. But when they do it slowly, and change lets say a no curfew area to a curfew area, then change it by 5 minutes once a month for 40 years, before you know it, you only have an hour of freedom a day and people would for the most part be ok with it, bc it happened so slowly they didnt even notice they were being enslaved. (I know someone is that bored and will check my math, I know its not right, I didnt even check it, this is just for example purposes).But if you did that overnight, I guarantee you have some kind of revolt…

    [Reply]

  6. SARA SMITH
    Aug 12 at 06:31

    I work in a doctor’s office. We require each patient’s or responsible party’s ssn. There are several reasons for this, but the main reason is to make collection efforts easier. It is appalling how many people who have insurance do not understand their benefit structure or their financial responsibility for medical services. It is even more appalling how many refuse to pay for services rendered to them. These people need, and fully deserve, to be sent to collections. A reasonable person might at this point ask why providers do not simply charge up front negating the need for balance billing. This is the goal of all providers. Unfortunately insurance companies do not always pay the benefits they quote to providers, and they often misquote the benefits. The providers only become aware of this after the insurance co sends payment for services which can be as long as 3 to six months later. The unpaid balance is the responsibility of the patient. I have been been doing this for many years now. About 10% of all patients have balances after insurance payments. 99.9% of those patients WILL NOT pay those balances, hence the need for collection efforts. Collection agencies have a much easier time tracking you deadbeats down when they have your ssn. You people who are up in arms about the use of your ssn are included among the people who will more than likely will not pay your balance. If you are not, you simply need to understand that the actions of many others have caused you to be put in the position of having to give up information that you would prefer not to. I would also like to add that I hope that none of you complaining about giving out your ssn have now, or have ever had: home mortgage loans, appartment leases, bank accounts, credit cards, or are/have been enrolled in any college/university. Every single one of the afore mentioned issuing agencies or institutions REQUIRE your ssn.

    [Reply]

    Becky Reply:

    Sara,

    Thank you for that point of view. Of course, paying your bills is extremely important and making sure the doctor has a means to get a hold of patients is useful, especially in a collections situation! The Social Security Administration provides some guidelines as to when people are required to provide SSNs. The purpose of the post is meant to inform people that they are not required to provide their SSN at the doctor. To learn more, please visit http://ssa-custhelp.ssa.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/78/~/legal-requirements-to-provide-your-ssn.

    Thank you!

    [Reply]

    Jack Reply:

    “I work in a doctor’s office. We require each patient’s or responsible party’s ssn. There are several reasons for this, but the main reason is to make collection efforts easier.”

    I don’t have insurance and pay cash UP FRONT for ALL of my medical services so there is NEVER a need to give up my SS#! If they insist, I make one up.

    There is NO other reason why the office would need it except for their own nefarious interests. Example: Selling your info to pharma reps or insurance companies so they can use your pre-exisiting condition to deny you coverage.

    [Reply]

    Barbara Reply:

    I always pay my bills on time and have an excellent credit history . . thanks to the fact that I finally managed to rectify a previous “mistaken identity” issue. Financial institutions have much more sophisticated security protocols in place than most doctor’s offices. My insurance is great and does pay as agreed, so it is a shame that a doctor who insists on my SS# will never have me for a patient! Read up on how often SS# numbers from medical facilities!

    [Reply]

    Jan Reply:

    Jack, if you “make up a SS#”, you could be compromising another person’s information if that “made up #” is legit for them. A recent talk show dealt with all kinds of ID theft issues, and one was a woman giving her story about her newborn’s SS# mess: it had been in use 7 years BEFORE he was born because someone “made it up”. It was still in SSA’s records as valid to issue when she applied for it, but if you’re going to make one up, use 999-99-9999.

    [Reply]

    Mark Reply:

    The fact that some people may not pay their bills is poor excuse to infringe on everyone else’s privacy. This blanket approach that “all are bad customers” is the problem we have with corporate america now. All customers are considered a liability instead of an asset, as we used to be considered by companies. We now have a society that operates under the assumption that everyone is untrustworthy and are subject to a leveraged system against the consumer. I hate it….

    [Reply]

    Theresa Reply:

    I’m thinking that you, Mark, have not lost thousands of dollars with your personal business, due to folks who do not pay for services rendered.

    [Reply]

    John Tate Reply:

    Theresa, so just to protect yourself, you’re happy to endanger countless clients? Such a caring attitude! You’re just the type that should be in the medical field. I bet you charge nice fair rates, too!

    [Reply]

    Janna Reply:

    Teresa- I’m sorry that your loss prevention numbers aren’t good but that’s business — major retailers to small ebay sellers deal with this risk. If we were required to give out our SSN to everyone we had commerce with– what would be the point? Everyone would have our numbers. You can’t put thousands at risk because some people work the system. Think of how many of our basic rights would be infringed upon if we applied that logic broadly!

    Certain things I get- mortgages, loans, colleges– all huge investments, all with sophisticated methods of data protection and employees are screen through background checks.

    But think of how many doctors offices you’ve busted in your lifetime – that’s a lot of times you’d be giving out your number. If I were a provider I would not want to ruin someone’s life through identity thefy because I needed to hire a temp or have a janitor rifle through my files at night-both if those are real cases

    And to Sara above– when you work with insurance– doctors normally honor the providers discounted rate and call it a day-I have NEVER in my life had a doctor not honor it and then turn around and charge me more. I pay all of my bills and debts on time but I would fight that one too!

    [Reply]

    Michelle Reply:

    I would like to know why a doctors office wants my minor childs ss#. I offered mine but I am unwilling to provide my childs. They said they can’t make an appointment without her number so I won’t be seeing that doctor.

    [Reply]

    Becky Reply:

    Technically, according to the Social Security Administration, only a few people are legally allowed to ask for SSNs (employers, etc.) Here’s a helpful link with info to share with your doctor’s office. http://ssa-custhelp.ssa.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/78/~/legal-requirements-to-provide-your-ssn

    [Reply]

    Julian Reply:

    I agree that various companies require our Social Security numbers. However this does not make it right or legal for that matter. The assumption you apparently have by what you posted is that if you have my social security number after I visit your office that you’ll be able to turn me over to a collection agency in the event that I don’t pay. What makes you think just because you have a collection agency come after me with my social security number that I will pay? If I didn’t pay initially then why would I care about paying a collection agency. I assure you that a collection agency does not make a difference. I have had several renters turned over to collection agencies over the past 23 years and I have only had 1 previous tenant actually pay the entire amount owed through the efforts of a collection agency. I would venture to say that most are more likely to pay past housing costs than they are to pay past doctor bills as medical debt is not supposed to be counted against a person when they have a credit check. Obviously I know this is not true as it makes a difference when I check a possible renters credit, but most who don’t pay their doctors bills don’t seem to know this. So my question is how are you able to stop dead beats by violating the civil rights of the rest of us?

    [Reply]

    John Reply:

    “tracking you deadbeats ” Really? Can you honestly say that, now that you have collected all the information necessary for a successful identity theft (drivers license, including picture, address, birth date, socal security number, etc), that there is zero chance of it falling into the wrong hands? The answer is, of course, NO. Medical support staff trying to hold on to this information is at the least irresponsible, at the most, I suspect, criminal. Here is an opening quote from an article at the san Antonio post “A San Antonio man pleaded guilty this week to possessing numerous medical files stolen from an area doctor, while a local woman was indicted separately on suspicion of using stolen identifying information in a bank fraud scam.” it was just the first of 73 Million + hits on google. Here is the link: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/Identity-theft-hits-doctor-s-office-banks-1335793.php

    and the search

    http://www.google.com/#sclient=psy-ab&q=identity+theft+stemming+from+doctors+office&oq=identity+theft+stemming+from+doctors+office&gs_l=hp.3..33i29i30.1285.12190.0.12386.46.41.1.4.4.3.451.5392.18j20j0j2j1.41.0….0…1c.1.19.psy-ab.VG5fvWTszU8&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_qf.&bvm=bv.48705608,d.cGE&fp=6d757e5a25baa450&biw=1264&bih=733

    once this information makes it into the system there is any number of points that it can be siphoned off for illegal use, or identity theft. Perhaps some of you (office personal perhaps?) are saying to yourself that google is not a legitimate source to quote, well, perhaps. But lets say that only 1% is true, that still leaves 730,000 true stories.

    [Reply]

  7. Reed
    Jan 23 at 19:44

    I think everyone who request your ssn, should be bonded and if the person can’t get bonded then the person shouldn’t work in that office.

    Plus the insurance company gives you the unique identification number that replaces the ssn.

    My main concern is also MIB, Medical Information Bureau. You could be a 1million dollar life insurance policy candidate, but once the insurance company puts in it’s request to the MIB, you just might qualify for a 5 thousand dollar policy because of all the insurance information that’s out there on each individual.

    [Reply]

  8. Monica
    Sep 30 at 13:02

    This article and some of the comments have been very informative.

    To add insult to injury regarding doctors’ offices, they have ALL your personal information, but now you cannot even get the last name of the staff members.

    Absoultely ridiculous!

    [Reply]

  9. James
    Nov 06 at 08:42

    I have worked in the hospital and physician practice business for over thirty years. I am called upon as an expert witness periodically to discuss billing and collection issues. The comments above largely reflect uninformed views. If a patient refuses to give their social security number, then they should expect to pay cash for the visit and file the insurance claim themselves. They should also expect to have their picture taken. The number one reason a doctor’s office expects a social security number is patient identification. Reviewing the wrong patient’s past medical history is malpractice. Filing a claim on the wrong insurance can be construed as fraud. The medical profession has a higher burden for the correct identification than others. The other issue at stake is credit. Paying a copayment and filing the remainder to insurance is a credit transaction. Until the claim is paid, the doctor has extended credit to the patient or responsible party. Try buying a sofa or a car on credit without giving a social and see what happens. For health care, Blue Cross is to the doctor that Ford Motor Credit is to the dealership, with a major exception. The patient can leave the doctor’s office without BC paying. Try driving off the lot without the dealership knowing Ford Motor Credit is going to pay. The single biggest reason insurance companies do not pay doctors is because of the patient’s insurance status. If one number or letter is transposed, the patient’s relationship to subscriber has an error, etc., try resolving the claim without the patient’s social. Try asking the patient to help. Let’s say the claim does not get paid and the amount due is converted to a patient balance. Let’s say a batch of patient statements totals to $1000. The doctor can expect $350 from the patients. Some of those bills are the doctors communicating, “Hey, something went wrong when we filed the claim.” 1/3 of patients whose bills are wrong make no effort…no call, no e-mail, etc…to correct it until the they get a collection letter. 1/3 allow it to go to a collection agency before theey are motivated to call. If you don’t want to give up your social, then man up. Pay cash and file the claim yourself.

    [Reply]

    Robert Reply:

    I’ve been told by my carrier (BCBS) that they don’t even have my SSN on file anymore. So at least one of your assumptions is false (resolving a claim without an SSN ). The filing forms don’t have a place for the patient SSN and neither do the electronic filing formats.

    [Reply]

    Janna Reply:

    James- a drivers license is sufficient to confirm identity. Yes people can fake them but they can also give a stolen SSN to doctors staff too so why isn’t the license sufficient

    Regarding insurance– it is not credit. And if s dr is concerned they should run a persons insurance to see what it will pay before the appt. simple steps that avoid identity theft. A doctor with the concerns you mentioned above can just opt not to take it at all. Then no one’s civil liberties are violated and the patient pays up front if they want that particular dr

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Reply:

    James, I don’t think you worked in an area that educated you on how it is supposed to work or how it actually works in the real world of top rates dr’s and hospitals.
    Hospitals bill insurance (and they are supposed to do it fairly) and then the patient pays the difference when they are legitimate charges. Dr’s and hospitals want the SS# to bully patients who won’t pay overcharges. I have had 13 surgeries at different hospitals around the country. Not one has required a SS#. United Healthcare, Cigna, BCBS and most other insurance companies don’t require a SS# (I can prove this because I have had these policies.) Don’t try to bully people into giving this info. If you really did work in these industries, you know you are not telling the truth (or you worked at really shady places).

    [Reply]

  10. Megan
    Dec 18 at 18:19

    Unless a pt pays in full they are often required to give their SSN as the office is in essence granting credit by not collecting payment for services rendered at the time of service. If a patient’s insurance makes them responsible for a portion of the claim and the patient refuses to pay they cannot be reported to a credit agencies without a social security number. If you don’t want to give it our then self pay and submit your claim to your insurance or ask the provider to refund you once insurance has paid in full.

    [Reply]

  11. Samantha
    Jan 20 at 08:30

    If the SSN# were truly just for the purpose of having some recourse should the insurance not pay then you’re going after the wrong person anyway. Talk to the big dogs kids, the insurance companies are who make things miserable for everyone – go after them for the balance that they said they would pay to begin with. And have the staff willing to find out if something is covered, every time i ask about something at the office, they tell me that I have to call my insurance company. If the doctor’s office is so concerned with payment, shouldn’t THEY be willing to do some legwork? As to James, stating that the number one reason for a doctor’s office asking for the SSN# is just plain bull. The driver’s license and insurance card should do just fine for that purpose….instead of calling everyone uninformed and throwing insults, you should try just being honest – but that is the problem with the whole SSN# debate, there is no honesty.

    [Reply]

  12. Randy Burns
    Aug 27 at 03:50

    Honest Doctors? I am currently dealing with a lawyer of a collection company of a radiologist in C G, Mo. The radiologist is in our insurance circuit and agrees to a contract price. We have an HSA to pay the balance the insurance doesn’t. I was told the SS number was required by law. However when I checked my insurance acct. I saw that this evil radiologist (who has 13 years of schooling and should have known better) actually charged my ins. $414.00 for something he didn’t do. I notified the ins. co. and they said (it’s fairly common for doctors to over charge, or upgrade in order to get the full amount they want from their billing charges. The radiologist was paid $191.10 for his theft and left me a balance to pay. Per the ins. co. recommendation I kindle asked him to pay back the money he stole and then I would pay him the balance of the bill. He refused and turned it over to their collection agency who immediately requested money or else. I explained the whole thing to them and told them to tell their client to pay the money back to the ins. com. and I would pay the radiologist the difference. (you cannot pay a collection agency from your HSA). This only infuriated them. They would not stop calling (all hours day and night, even Sunday on our church phone). Even after I sent them a certified letter to cease and desist. Finally they have trashed my credit by filling 5 different accounts with Trans Union, one of which is for the stolen amount the radiologist got. They have cost me 125 points off my credit score. Now they have turned it over to a lawyer and I have a court date in October, and this lawyer intends to make me pay all the money including the $191.10 the radiologist stole. ( I had 2 MRI’s done the same day; 1 neck, 1 head totaling almost $3,000.00). I explained every thing to him as well, to no avail. I have filed with both the BBB and FTC. The BBB in Cape Girardeau, Mo. asked what I would like to see happen. ( I said: for the radiologist to pay back the money he stole, and to apologize for his dishonesty.) He claims the radiology report exists, yet to this date almost a year later, neither Radiologist, doctor, collection agency, or lawyer has been able to produce it. Actually I have the MRI’s and results on cd. I requested them the day of service. The results: although the neck report is published, it states that no report exists for the brain. And hasn’t for almost a year… well we’ll see if keeping certified letters and cd of results is enough to defeat this thief. Then again I might just file a malpractice suit and see how much his (radiologist) credit is worth. Oh, by the way did I mention I work for a lawyer?

    [Reply]

  13. Disability Insurance for Professionals
    Dec 11 at 23:52

    This looks great, I sooo need to try this soon! Thanks!

    [Reply]

  14. Rowena Jones
    Jan 12 at 23:01

    I stopped providing my ssn to medical providers after two separate incidents in which I was acidentally given records of other patients with their full names, dates of birth and social security numbers.

    [Reply]

  15. Jennifer
    Feb 07 at 11:13

    DO NOT EVER GIVE A DR OR INSURANCE COMPANY A SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER. It is used only for collections. Once they have your insurance card and proof of identity, that’s it. If you have a copay, they can ask you to pay it at the time of service. If there is a large balance at the end, it’s usually because the dr or dentist charges so much more than the insurance company will pay (most dr’s charge too much and most insurance reimbursements won’t go along with that). If you agree to the services, you are responsible to pay the balance. Why is a dr entitled to our credit information but a plumber or auto body shop is not? They all perform services and expect payment at the end. NO DR NEEDS A SS#. ID theft is a huge problem and not worth the risk. If a dr refuses to see you, they are not reputable and their staff are told to bully patients. Most people just go along with it but they shouldn’t. We had quotes from five health insurance companies this year who all REQUIRED SS#s. We told them no and they said it was impossible. We said just to process it without it and see what happened. All if it came back with quotes and no mention of the SS# missing. They can also make a dummy SS# for you as well. Staff at dr’s offices can bully patients and it really bothers me that they think they know it all. They can refuse service but they can’t require your SS#. It’s easy to find a dr to treat you who won’t want such personal and unnecessary info.

    [Reply]

  16. Andy
    Feb 24 at 17:18

    I never put my SSN on medical forms, if they need to find me they can do it through my insurance. I have never said I am declining to provide my SSN and I’ve never been challenged about it, I just leave it off the forms and hand them in.

    I had the same thing happen a lawyer’s office recently. No way was I handing over my SSN, so I just left if off the form (along with my DL number, as far as I was concerned they didn’t need that either!). The form was accepted without question when I handed it back.

    [Reply]

  17. Constantin
    Mar 26 at 07:29

    Hi,
    I have Metlife dental.
    The dentist’s office asks for my SSN in order to check my insurance and submit a claim. Of course, no being happy with all this, I called Metlife today and I guess what I found out.
    They can verify my insurance with just my name. HOWEVER, if they submit a claim (and they will), they have to put in my SSN. No way around it.
    Otherwise, I would have to pay cash and submit the claim myself (which may be a financially imprudent).
    Metlife is provided from my spouse’s job.
    What would you do?

    [Reply]

    Becky Reply:

    Hi Contstantin, here’s a like for the Social Security Administration, they may have suggestions on this and other unique identifiers.

    [Reply]

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