Skip Navigation

Back to Index

Identifying BCBSNC Members and Identification Cards

Release Date: November 5, 2012

Identification (ID) cards are useful tools for both members and providers.  They are designed to assist in identifying the member’s type of coverage.

Alpha prefixes

Most members with coverage through a Blue Cross Blue Shield Plan are assigned a three letter alpha prefix as a part of their unique identification number. The alpha prefix can easily be identified as it is the first three characters.

The alpha prefix is very important to the identification number. The prefix acts as a key element in confirming the members’ eligibility and coverage information. Prefixes are also used to identify and correctly route claims to the appropriate Blue Cross Blue Shield Plan for processing of out-of-state member claims.

See the example of a BCBSNC card below.  The member number and alpha prefix are circled.

Identification cards with an alpha prefix

Some ID cards may not include an alpha prefix, which may indicate that the claim filing instructions for these type policies are different. We suggest that you verify claim filing instructions during the time eligibility information is obtained. If not, please follow the instructions on the back of the member's ID card or contact the plan directly.

Helpful tips related to the alpha prefix

  • Include the alpha prefix and all alpha numeric characters preceding the alpha prefix on all correspondence and claims submitted to BCBSNC.
  • The alpha prefix is always three letters followed by the member’s ID number which can be from 6 up to 14 characters total.

Please Don’t Maintain Alpha Prefix Lists

  • For faster and efficient claims processing, please don’t maintain alpha prefix lists. Simply file claims for Blue Plan members to BCBSNC.  The member ID will include the alpha prefix in the first three positions. The alpha prefix is critical for confirming membership and coverage and key to facilitating prompt payments.
  • Please do not use homemade lists to file claims as alpha prefixes constantly change. 

Filing claims for out-of-state members

When submitting BlueCard® should be raised claims (for out-of-state Blue members), always include the alpha prefix and all alpha numeric characters preceding the alpha prefix, as indicated on the member’s ID card.

Look first for the suitcase– all BlueCard members will have a suitcase logo on their ID cards.  The suitcase logo may appear with or without “PPO” in the logo.  The suitcase log identifies the reimbursement level to the provider, not member benefits.


BCBSNC serves as the “one-stop shop” for all BlueCard claim inquiries from participating and non-participating providers in North Carolina. 

Helpful Contacts