Important News

Back to Index

Protecting BCBSNC member Social Security numbers

Identity theft using illegally obtained Social Security numbers (SSN) is a growing problem throughout the country.

In response to this issue, Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans nationwide have implemented a conversion process to remove SSNs from member ID cards. Some plans have already issued ID cards with new subscriber numbers, and you may have already encountered non–SSN–based ID numbers from your patients covered by those plans.

BCBSNC will begin phasing in new member ID numbers in April, 2005. By January 2006, we will have converted all BCBSNC members to non–SSN–based ID numbers. The new identifiers will be used on ID cards as well as correspondence sent to members and providers.

The new ID number will consist of the lead alpha character (W), followed by eight numeric digits. The current prefixes and suffixes used today will remain unchanged.

For example, a new member ID number will look like this: YPPW34789625 A new State ID number will look like this: W21459837.

During the transition, BCBSNC will continue to accept claims submitted with the old SSN–based ID number in order not to disrupt claims processing, but we request that you make every effort to update your records and submit claims with the new ID number.

If you have any questions, please contact your local BCBSNC Network Management office.

Helpful tips concerning member IDs

In an effort to better protect our members against identity theft, BCBSNC has initiated a program to convert all member IDs from SSN-based to non-SSN-based. The conversion process will begin in April 2005 and is schedule for completion by January 2006.

To help you with the transition, to follow are some helpful tips.

  • Do not assume that a member’s ID number is the Social Security number.
  • Be sure that all your systems can accommodate the alpha prefix and all subsequent characters, up to 17 positions total. This includes the systems used by your patient billing vendors and clearinghouses. Start working with your vendors now to ensure a smooth transition to the new ID format. We also recommend that you test your systems to be sure they can accommodate the new format.
  • A correct member ID number includes the alpha prefix (first 3 positions) and all subsequent characters, up to 17 positions total. The BCBSNC ID number will be a maximum of 14 digits, but other Blue Plans may go up to 17.
  • Do not add/delete characters or numbers within the member ID.
  • Do not change the sequence of the characters following the alpha prefix.
  • Please make copies of the front and back of the ID card, and pass this information to your billing staff. During the transition, BCBSNC will continue to accept claims submitted with the old SS–bases ID number in order not to disrupt claims processing, but we request that you make every effort to update your records and submit claims with new ID number.

If you have any questions, please contact your local BCBSNC Network Management office.

SSN ID replacement FAQs.