Patients do not need to share their Social Security numbers with doctors, other health care providers or hospitals, states Consumer Reports. Health care providers only need to know patients' insurance subscriber numbers so they can submit claims for payment. However, patients with Medicare must provide their Social Security numbers.
Although health care providers and hospitals prefer to have the Social Security numbers in case debt collection is necessary, patients have the right to leave the space requesting their numbers in admissions forms blank, explains Consumer Reports. If health care personnel insist, patients can explain that they are concerned about identity theft and do not share their Social Security numbers unless the law requires it. Alternatively, they can provide the last four digits only.
Medicare patients have no alternative to giving their Social Security numbers to health care providers because the identifying numbers on their Medicare ID consist of their Social Security numbers along with an additional code, points out Consumer Reports. As of 2015, legislation to take Social Security numbers off Medicare cards is pending but not enacted. The Mandatory Insurer Reporting law stipulates that consumers and all covered dependents must also provide their Social Security numbers to insurance companies selling health plans through employers or federal or state marketplaces.