Use of Social Security Numbers
- Participating Physician Groups (PPG)
(does not apply to HSP)
The plan has implemented the use of alternate identification (ID) numbers for all members to replace the member's Social Security number (SSN) as the subscriber or member ID number on most member-oriented materials and communications, including member ID cards.
The purpose of this change is to comply with SB 168 (ch. 720, 2001), which prohibits any person or agency (excluding state or local agencies) from any of the following:
- Publicly posting or displaying an individual's SSN.
- Printing a member's SSN on any card needed to access products or services, such as a member ID card.
- Requiring members to transmit their SSNs over the Internet unless the connection is secure or the SSN is encrypted.
- Requiring members to use their SSNs to access a website, unless a password or unique ID number is also required to access the website.
- Printing a member's SSN on any materials that are mailed to the member, unless required by state or federal law.
Exceptions established by SB 1730 (ch 786, 2002) include applications, forms and other documents sent by mail for the following:
- As part of an application or enrollment process.
- To establish, amend or terminate an account, contract or policy.
- To confirm the accuracy of the SSN.
These exceptions are subject to restrictions established by AB 763 (ch. 532, 2003), which prohibits the printing of the SSN, in whole or in part, on a postcard or any other type of mailer that does not require an envelope and allows the SSN to be visible without opening the mailer.
Provider-oriented materials, including eligibility reports and other health plan correspondence, includes both the member's alternate ID number and SSN for identification purposes. The plan also continues to use SSNs for internal verification and administration purposes as allowed by law.
Participating providers are subject to the same regulations.
Refer to the discussion of subscriber/member ID numbers under the Enrollment topic for more information on ID number format.