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What is a Subscriber ID Number for health insurance?

To sum it up...
  • Your subscriber ID is the number associated with your particular health care insurance plan
  • It should be located on your insurance card
  • If you have insurance for just yourself, the subscriber ID will only be associated with you
  • If more than one member in your household is insured through the same plan, you will all have the same subscriber ID

When filling out paperwork at a medical office, you’re asked for your health insurance information. You’ll be required to provide your subscriber ID to the health care provider, whether you’re seeking lab services or treatment from a physician or nurse. The subscriber ID is the identification number given to you when you enroll in a health care plan.

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How to Find Your Subscriber ID

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If you’re given a health insurance card upon enrollment in a plan, you should find all of the important information on that card. You’ll have the name of your insurance company along with their contact information. The card should also have:

  • Your subscriber ID
  • Your group plan number
  • Your plan type

If you received a digital insurance card, you should have also received a subscriber ID with your electronic documents.

If you ever have trouble locating your subscriber ID, you can contact your insurance provider. When you let them know your basic information, they should be able to provide you with your identification number. They can also send you replacement documents.

Other Names for a Subscriber ID

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Every insurance company, including those on the Marketplace, will use their own design when issuing a health insurance card. While many companies will use the exact terminology of “Subscriber ID,” some may use different terminology. Other terms that mean the same thing as subscriber ID are:

  • Member ID
  • ID
  • Identification number

Why is the subscriber ID important?

Every health care provider will collect your insurance information before they see you. If you don’t have health insurance, you may be asked to pay for your services before they’re given.

Your subscriber ID will indicate what type of insurance plan you have. The office staff will put in the relevant information so they can bill your insurance company properly. They will also need your ID to make sure they bill you the correct amount.

Who is the subscriber?

In households who get insurance through an employer:

The employee who obtains the insurance for him/herself (and potentially the dependents) is the subscriber.

In households who get insurance through the Marketplace:

The subscriber is the primary adult who applied for insurance.

In households who get insurance through other means:

There should have been one primary person who initially applied for insurance. That person becomes the subscriber.

Any dependents should have the same insurance information as that of the subscriber. It becomes a family plan whether you’re getting insurance for a couple or for a household with children.

Adult children who are under 26 years of age are eligible to remain on their parent’s plans. This is true even if they live independently, can afford other types of insurance, and have a family of their own.

What type of payments might you be responsible for?

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In addition to the monthly premium that you’ll have to pay, you may also be charged with other costs. These are referred to as out-of-pocket costs, and they can usually be paid with cash, check, debit, or credit card. Out-of-pocket costs can include:

Copayments are set amounts that you’ll pay each time you access a health care service. They may be $20 or $30, for example. They may also be dependent on whether you’ve paid your deductible. If you haven’t met your deductible, you may be charged the maximum allowable cost each time you visit the doctor. When you hit your deductible, your copayment may decrease to a fixed amount.

Coinsurance is similar to a copayment, but it consists of a percentage instead of just a fixed amount. For example, you may be responsible for 20 percent of the cost of a service.

If you’re eligible to sign up for a new plan, you can shop around to explore your options. You may find a better plan that fits your budget in relation to how much you expect to use health care services. In general, plans with lower monthly premiums have higher out-of-pocket costs, and vice versa.

Your subscriber ID will be included in all of your paperwork related to your health insurance. It indicates what type of plan you have, and when you provide it to your health care provider, they’ll be able to bill the insurance company and you correctly.

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