Give new doctor a SSN?

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InMyDreams
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Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by InMyDreams »

My father is transitioning to a new doctor. He is on Medicare. The new office asked for his Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (i.e., new medicare number), but said they also needed his SSN for billing.

Really? Everything I've read says that Medicare billing is now based on MBI as the patient identifier.

AARP advises not sharing SSN unnecessarily.

Does Medicare require SSN for billing? Should I give his SSN to the new office?
Good Listener
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by Good Listener »

The doctor's office is simply wrong. Medicare used to use the SS # but changed it a few years ago. That was to avoid sharing SS numbers unnecessarily.
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InMyDreams
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by InMyDreams »

I'd really like him to go to this doctor, but SSNs are a real sticking point for me. I don't want to ruffle feathers before he even meets to doctor, and I also don't want him to be refused admission to the practice.
123
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by 123 »

I would expect that they want the SSN to follow-up, if necessary, for any debt collection procedures that might be necessary at some point down the road.

The SSN might be needed for insurance reference purposes that haven't been converted to the new Medicare ID system. If you are trusting the doctor with your life (which you probably are) it probably isn't an issue to give the doctor the SSN.
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AAA
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by AAA »

I would ask them why they are asking for the Soc. Sec. number and express my concern about revealing it. A lot of times these places are using old forms and they may not still need it. We once bought a car and the salesman's screen had an input for Soc. Sec. number which didn't make sense as we were paying cash. He said it was a requirement of the Dept. of Motor Vehicles. We gave it to him (something I wouldn't do today) and later found out directly from the DMV that what he said was not true so I asked the manager at the dealership to remove the information from their system. My dentist's questionnaire has a place for Soc. Sec. number but I leave it blank and they are okay with it.

Major corporation with large IT departments get hacked so I wouldn't have much confidence in a small office's ability to safeguard private information.
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InMyDreams
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by InMyDreams »

AAA wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 7:29 pm an input for Soc. Sec. number which didn't make sense as we were paying cash. He said it was a requirement of the Dept. of Motor Vehicles.
The last time I bought a car, the sales (and finance rep) said that SSN was required by Patriot Act. Fortunately, this had been done to a friend of mine and I had googled it.

I raised my voice and said, "the internet says that if you say the patriot act requires my SSN to buy a car, I should ask you to show me that part of the Act"

The sales guy backed off, and the couple at a nearby table looked quite interested.
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OAG
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by OAG »

I am almost 80. I have a PCP and his office has my SSN and New Medicare Number. I have had medical care at that office and SEVERAL referal Offices for Speciality Care. Also get care from the VA and Tricare. They all got both numbers. That is over the past 40 years - Have never had a problem with billing, or any ID Theft issues. Those numbers should be guarded but sometimes you have to safely give them up for good reasons. I would call the Doctors office one of those.
OAG=Old Army Guy. Retired CW4 USA (US Army) in 1979 21 years of service @ 38.
Living Free
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by Living Free »

AAA wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 7:29 pm

Major corporation with large IT departments get hacked so I wouldn't have much confidence in a small office's ability to safeguard private information.
Clark Howard is concerned about the security issues and advises against giving out one's SSN in such an instance. See: https://clark.com/consumer-issues-id-th ... ty-number/
toofache32
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by toofache32 »

Physician here. The SS# is not required for insurance billing. Our collections agency requires it though.
We do have patients who don't want to provide it, and that's fine. I had my identity stolen and understand the concern. But they are now cash pay patients.
Last edited by toofache32 on Thu Jul 16, 2020 8:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
rkhusky
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by rkhusky »

Just skip that line of the form and see if they squawk.
UpperNwGuy
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by UpperNwGuy »

So.... the correct answer is that the doctors want your SSN for their collections agency in the event you don't pay.
greenflamingo
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by greenflamingo »

The MBI transition was a challenge for healthcare organizations. And probably Medicare. But previously, your Medicare subscriber ID likely gave away your SNN (excepting Railroad plans).

The whole point of the MBI is to better secure SSNs.

They want your SSN in case you go to bad debt. Or maybe they simply haven’t updated their policy.

You can refuse. Ask them if they can put all zeros/ones instead.
RudyS
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by RudyS »

We moved to a new state a year ago. All new doctors, dentists, etc. Some asked for a SSN. Some didn't. Those who asked were OK with our not providing it.
JonnyB
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by JonnyB »

atikovi wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 8:48 pm Just transpose the middle numbers. Chances are they will never check, and if they do, just say it was a typo.
You realize that you could be potentially screwing up someone else's life by impersonating them?
student
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by student »

I would not give my doctor the SSN.
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pianos101
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by pianos101 »

toofache32 wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 8:38 pm Physician here. The SS# is not required for insurance billing. Our collections agency requires it though.
We do have patients who don't want to provide it, and that's fine. I had my identity stolen and understand the concern. But they are now cash pay patients.
Are you sure that does not violate your contract with insurance companies? I'm assuming you mean "cash pay" as that you will not process claims for them and you make them pay cash at the visit. If a patient has insurance that you take/are in-network for, your contract probably requires you process the claim as in-network, not bill them at the visit.

Not getting their SSN should NOT preclude you from billing their insurance. You should take your patients' privacy more seriously, even though it might take longer for you (or your collections agency) in the event you need to send a bill to collections.
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celia
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by celia »

Look at it from the perspective of the doctor’s office. What if a service is not covered by Medicare? (They are supposed to tell you that upfront, and have you ackowledge that in writing.). Then the patient is responsible for the bill.

Or if the service IS covered, who will pay the 20% that Medicare doesn’t cover (ie, show you have a Medigap plan).
Mr. Rumples
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by Mr. Rumples »

For Medicare patients there is no reason for a physician to have the number. They have your medicare #, your supplemental insurance number and can verify coverage. If they did have an identity theft problem, it would be months before they found out, even longer before they notify the patient. One purpose of getting rid of the SS# on medicare was to help protect patients from identity theft.

"Instead of your Social Security Number (SSN), your new Medicare card will include a new number unique to you. This will help to protect you against identity theft and protect Medicare from fraud." Medicare website.

Perhaps use the below to quiz the practice manager about security:

https://www.phe.gov/Preparedness/planni ... in-508.pdf

If push comes to shove, pay what medicare doesn't cover with a credit card and let them refund you. We trust physicians with our lives, they should show us a little trust.

If they are part of a hospital network and you have been to the hospital or a physician in the network and gave out the # already, odds are they have it anyway.

Here is a different way to look at it. Billing is frequently outsourced. You have no way to know what the company to which it is outsourced is doing with it. Do they give it to anyone else? I know from two practices that they have outsourced and when I call, the employees are working from home. What does the employee see on their end? Is it an isolated computer or their personal computer hooked up to the office? And what of family members taking a peek?
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pianos101
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by pianos101 »

Mr. Rumples wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 2:02 am Here is a different way to look at it. Billing is frequently outsourced. You have no way to know what the company to which it is outsourced is doing with it. Do they give it to anyone else? I know from two practices that they have outsourced and when I call, the employees are working from home. What does the employee see on their end? Is it an isolated computer or their personal computer hooked up to the office? And what of family members taking a peek?
Exactly this. Just because I trust a physician with my life, doesn't mean I trust them to handle my PII correctly. My wife is a physician (at a university hospital, not private practice) and she doesn't know squat about insurance and billing.
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InMyDreams
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by InMyDreams »

Thank you all - BH'ers are always great info sources, and give a variety of perspectives to consider.

If you look at the recent Twitter hack, it wasn't an individual account that was hacked - it appears that someone got admin privileges and got to access info and tweet ad lib. If Twitter can be hacked that way, then I think they are all significantly vulnerable.

Personally, I'd rather given them a credit card number to keep on file, than give a SSN.

I also dislike the fact that the request was presented to me as a Medicare requirement for billing purposes.
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by toofache32 »

pianos101 wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 11:21 pm
toofache32 wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 8:38 pm Physician here. The SS# is not required for insurance billing. Our collections agency requires it though.
We do have patients who don't want to provide it, and that's fine. I had my identity stolen and understand the concern. But they are now cash pay patients.
Are you sure that does not violate your contract with insurance companies? I'm assuming you mean "cash pay" as that you will not process claims for them and you make them pay cash at the visit. If a patient has insurance that you take/are in-network for, your contract probably requires you process the claim as in-network, not bill them at the visit.

Not getting their SSN should NOT preclude you from billing their insurance. You should take your patients' privacy more seriously, even though it might take longer for you (or your collections agency) in the event you need to send a bill to collections.
As I said, the SS# has nothing to do with billing. It allows my collection agency to be more successful if we should need it. There is no repo man for healthcare services. Providing services and sending a bill later is not much different than an unsecured loan.

Cash pay means they pay they pay for services up front and they file their own claim to get reimbursed by insurance. We file insurance as a courtesy, not a requirement, because we are better at filing than patients since we do it every day. If you can recommend a better way to protect ourselves then I'm happy to listen.
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pianos101
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by pianos101 »

toofache32 wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 6:52 pm
pianos101 wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 11:21 pm
toofache32 wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 8:38 pm Physician here. The SS# is not required for insurance billing. Our collections agency requires it though.
We do have patients who don't want to provide it, and that's fine. I had my identity stolen and understand the concern. But they are now cash pay patients.
Are you sure that does not violate your contract with insurance companies? I'm assuming you mean "cash pay" as that you will not process claims for them and you make them pay cash at the visit. If a patient has insurance that you take/are in-network for, your contract probably requires you process the claim as in-network, not bill them at the visit.

Not getting their SSN should NOT preclude you from billing their insurance. You should take your patients' privacy more seriously, even though it might take longer for you (or your collections agency) in the event you need to send a bill to collections.
As I said, the SS# has nothing to do with billing. It allows my collection agency to be more successful if we should need it. There is no repo man for healthcare services. Providing services and sending a bill later is not much different than an unsecured loan.

Cash pay means they pay they pay for services up front and they file their own claim to get reimbursed by insurance. We file insurance as a courtesy, not a requirement, because we are better at filing than patients since we do it every day. If you can recommend a better way to protect ourselves then I'm happy to listen.
But collections is part of billing. My understanding is that SSN makes it easier to find someone to collect, but it’s not a requirement. If your collector is telling you they need SSN... find another one.

And I’ve had to file claims for in network doctors and my processor treats that as out of network even though the doctor was in network. My point is that carrier contracts may be different and some might require you file the claim if you are in network.

I’m not trying to be hard on you, but you should be hard on your office manager to find a way to ensure people’s privacy, which means not throwing up your arms and saying sorry we need SSN to treat you.
toofache32
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by toofache32 »

pianos101 wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 7:02 pm
toofache32 wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 6:52 pm
pianos101 wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 11:21 pm
toofache32 wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 8:38 pm Physician here. The SS# is not required for insurance billing. Our collections agency requires it though.
We do have patients who don't want to provide it, and that's fine. I had my identity stolen and understand the concern. But they are now cash pay patients.
Are you sure that does not violate your contract with insurance companies? I'm assuming you mean "cash pay" as that you will not process claims for them and you make them pay cash at the visit. If a patient has insurance that you take/are in-network for, your contract probably requires you process the claim as in-network, not bill them at the visit.

Not getting their SSN should NOT preclude you from billing their insurance. You should take your patients' privacy more seriously, even though it might take longer for you (or your collections agency) in the event you need to send a bill to collections.
As I said, the SS# has nothing to do with billing. It allows my collection agency to be more successful if we should need it. There is no repo man for healthcare services. Providing services and sending a bill later is not much different than an unsecured loan.

Cash pay means they pay they pay for services up front and they file their own claim to get reimbursed by insurance. We file insurance as a courtesy, not a requirement, because we are better at filing than patients since we do it every day. If you can recommend a better way to protect ourselves then I'm happy to listen.
But collections is part of billing. My understanding is that SSN makes it easier to find someone to collect, but it’s not a requirement. If your collector is telling you they need SSN... find another one.

And I’ve had to file claims for in network doctors and my processor treats that as out of network even though the doctor was in network. My point is that carrier contracts may be different and some might require you file the claim if you are in network.

I’m not trying to be hard on you, but you should be hard on your office manager to find a way to ensure people’s privacy, which means not throwing up your arms and saying sorry we need SSN to treat you.
What collection agency does not want SS numbers? Why would they want to make their jobs more difficult and less productive by tying one hand behind their back? Not very boglehead.

I have no reason to be hard on my office manager. I make these decisions, she just enforces them. We DO need the SSN for the best chance of successful collections, period. I don't know how to make this more simple. It has nothing to do with insurance. Insurance companies do not require me to treat every person that walks in the door. We do have patients that don't like our policies, and they are welcome to find the practice of their dreams elsewhere. Vote with your feet and all that stuff.
Last edited by toofache32 on Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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pianos101
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by pianos101 »

toofache32 wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 8:48 pm
pianos101 wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 7:02 pm
toofache32 wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 6:52 pm
pianos101 wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 11:21 pm
toofache32 wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 8:38 pm Physician here. The SS# is not required for insurance billing. Our collections agency requires it though.
We do have patients who don't want to provide it, and that's fine. I had my identity stolen and understand the concern. But they are now cash pay patients.
Are you sure that does not violate your contract with insurance companies? I'm assuming you mean "cash pay" as that you will not process claims for them and you make them pay cash at the visit. If a patient has insurance that you take/are in-network for, your contract probably requires you process the claim as in-network, not bill them at the visit.

Not getting their SSN should NOT preclude you from billing their insurance. You should take your patients' privacy more seriously, even though it might take longer for you (or your collections agency) in the event you need to send a bill to collections.
As I said, the SS# has nothing to do with billing. It allows my collection agency to be more successful if we should need it. There is no repo man for healthcare services. Providing services and sending a bill later is not much different than an unsecured loan.

Cash pay means they pay they pay for services up front and they file their own claim to get reimbursed by insurance. We file insurance as a courtesy, not a requirement, because we are better at filing than patients since we do it every day. If you can recommend a better way to protect ourselves then I'm happy to listen.
But collections is part of billing. My understanding is that SSN makes it easier to find someone to collect, but it’s not a requirement. If your collector is telling you they need SSN... find another one.

And I’ve had to file claims for in network doctors and my processor treats that as out of network even though the doctor was in network. My point is that carrier contracts may be different and some might require you file the claim if you are in network.

I’m not trying to be hard on you, but you should be hard on your office manager to find a way to ensure people’s privacy, which means not throwing up your arms and saying sorry we need SSN to treat you.
What collection agency does not want SS numbers? Why would they want to make their jobs more difficult and less productive by tying one hand behind their back? Not very boglehead.

I have no reason to be hard on my office manager. I make these decisions, she just enforces them. We DO need the SSN for the best chance of successful collections, period. I don't know how to make this more simple. It has nothing to do with insurance. Insurance companies do not require me to treat every person that walks in the door. We do have patients that don't like our policies, and they are welcome to find the practice of their dreams elsewhere. Vote with your feet and all that stuff.
... you asked for recommendations and I gave you something to look into...

Of course they want SSN. That doesn’t mean they can’t do their job without it. Quite the contrary. If they charge you more for sending a bill without SSN isn’t that the cost of doing business (on all fronts)? Isn’t the privacy of your patients more important than the probably small amount of bills you have to send to collections.

Even though SSN is covered under HIPAA, that doesn’t mean that billing systems treat the information the same and are not prone to hacking. Recent events have proven that.
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by BarbBrooklyn »

When asked for my SS# (by anyone other than the IRS and SS), I give them XXX-XX and the last 4 actual digits. No one complains.
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legio XX
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by legio XX »

rkhusky wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 8:40 pm Just skip that line of the form and see if they squawk.
This is what I do. Can't remember the last time it was an issue.
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8foot7
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by 8foot7 »

toofache32 wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 8:38 pm Physician here. The SS# is not required for insurance billing. Our collections agency requires it though.
We do have patients who don't want to provide it, and that's fine. I had my identity stolen and understand the concern. But they are now cash pay patients.
This is fair. :sharebeer
scoreboard
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by scoreboard »

For what it's worth sometimes physician offices use the SSN to help you qualify for patient assistance programs for expensive medications (cancer meds, etc...). But they could get it directly from you or you could apply for those benefits yourself.
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by mrc »

We stopped furnishing our SSNs to offices years ago. We just leave that space blank and only two times has a clerk questioned the omission.

First time: When the clerk said, I need your SSN, I said, "What for?" She said, "Because it's here on the form." I said, "That's not a reason you *need* it." That was the end of it.

Second time: Clerk said the office *had* to have my wife's SSN. We said why? She said in case this goes to collections. (At least she was being honest.) I pointed out DW has two insurance policies in effect, primary and secondary, and that the likelihood of this account going to collections was quite low. And being flippant, I added, if that happens, we'll give you the SSN then. She was satisfied with that plan. Sometimes, you just have to play along.

Medicare moved away from SSNs for their IDs for a reason. Leave it off, and be done with it.
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by Marylander1 »

123 wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 7:17 pmIf you are trusting the doctor with your life (which you probably are) it probably isn't an issue to give the doctor the SSN.
I have profound trust in the doctors who have saved my life and continue to provide excellent care. But if they asked for my SSN, bank account numbers or balances, or other key financial information, the answer is no.

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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by Horsefly »

I've heard (Clark Howard) that medical and dental offices and billing services are the main source of identity theft, via SSNs. It seems that they have mostly gotten their arms around protecting your personal health information (HIPAA), but not your SSN and identity.

Clark Howard is adamant that you should not give your SSN to any medical or dental provider. If they demand it, he provides a list of "fake" numbers that will never correspond to a real person. As others have pointed out here, if you just put a random set of numbers down you may yourself be using someone else's SSN.
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by bampf »

toofache32 wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 8:38 pm Physician here. The SS# is not required for insurance billing. Our collections agency requires it though.
We do have patients who don't want to provide it, and that's fine. I had my identity stolen and understand the concern. But they are now cash pay patients.
How do you store these social security numbers? Do you update your networks daily? Are you aware of current vulnerabilities and do you understand the risk that ineffective security controls puts on your customer base? What controls do you have in place to prevent your billing clerk from stealing patient data and selling it? Do you independently audit and monitor privileged access and do you conduct security scans to prevent breaches?

A relatively recent report by JAMA stresses that 53% of all PHI breaches were directly attributable to "...entities' own mistakes or neglect." (November 19, 2018 Evaluation of Causes of Protected Health Information Breaches).

A social security number, dob, home address are enough to do all kinds of scary things. Storing a social security number in anything less than world class secure networks with multiple layers of controls is irresponsible. It isn't required for any medical or billing reason. To require it, even for patients that are willing to give it, is a significant part of the problem.
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by student »

Horsefly wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 2:54 pm I've heard (Clark Howard) that medical and dental offices and billing services are the main source of identity theft, via SSNs. It seems that they have mostly gotten their arms around protecting your personal health information (HIPAA), but not your SSN and identity.

Clark Howard is adamant that you should not give your SSN to any medical or dental provider. If they demand it, he provides a list of "fake" numbers that will never correspond to a real person. As others have pointed out here, if you just put a random set of numbers down you may yourself be using someone else's SSN.
According to https://online5.asurehcm.com/Help/HR_EN ... e/ssno.htm "The first character cannot be 9 unless the fourth digit is a 9 or a 7," so many of invalid numbers to choose from.
RetiredAL
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by RetiredAL »

Yes, I would give my full name, rank, and serial number to a doctor.

I've done so at the bank.
I did so the last car I bought at a dealer.
I've done so with Schwab and Fidelity.
I or my wife have done so which store cards, such as Macy's, Costco, Kohls, Target, ect.
And I'm not overly concerned.

I am of the opinion the worry many express here is way over-blown. Could it happen? Yes. But the likelihood is pretty low. The identify theft numbers expounded by the "sky is falling" talking heads trying to sell you something your likely don't need. The number is distorted because it's related to unauthorized Credit Card transactions, which has zero to do with your name, rank, and serial number to those stats. Thank the bureaucrat that decided to include simple CC fraud as Identify Theft, even though a person's name, rank, serial number was not involved. Was that them just trying to attract more more funding from congress?

Think about it. Say a person with someone's ID info does try to open an account via a computer from an IP address normally associated with Nigeria, and oh, by the way I've moved and my address now Washington DC, not the Palo Alto, CA address known to the credit bureaus. Do you really think they are going to issue you a card and mail it to an address they can't validate? Alternately, the jerk uses the real address associated to that person's ID - where does the card is mailed to. How will the jerk get the new card?

The last time I bought a car, beside asking for both my and DW's Driver Licenses, they asked for a CC as a second form of ID, and then validated us through the credit bureau before we drove off.

20 years ago, it was much easier to impersonate someone. Today, they have many ways to instantaneously validate you. For example, 2 years ago I called Navy FCU to reset my logon ID. The Rep said sure, I'll send you a text to the cell phone you are calling from. I asked how he could do that when the cell was not in my Navy FCU profile? Answer: When you call us, our systems have already verified you before I answer and that cell number is associated with your credit bureau record.

In ending, I'm not saving someone could not have things done fraudulently in your name, just that its a pretty low risk, except for CC Fraud.


dbr in another thread nails the reasons, IMO. Color emphasis is mine.
dbr wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 10:33 am ^^^ I don't understand why it is so difficult to educate.......

It might have to do with the separation between those who use math to reason quantitatively about the world when appropriate and people who use words to reason about the world even when the situation cries out for quantitative reasoning. In this case the key magic work is "pays,' which conjures up all sorts of images of "earning" a wage or being sent something one "deserves" to get and that one is entitled to.
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InMyDreams
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by InMyDreams »

BarbBrooklyn wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 1:24 am When asked for my SS# (by anyone other than the IRS and SS), I give them XXX-XX and the last 4 actual digits. No one complains.
The last four of your SSN is the most randomized portion of the number, especially numbers issued prior to the time that they stopped giving out numbers that were based on your location at the time of application.

When I spoke with her yesterday, I asked why she needed the number, that I would prefer not to give it. Once she realized that my father had a supplement, and that I knew its number, she backed off.
Kennedy
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by Kennedy »

I always leave that line blank on the forms. There was only one time when the doctor's office staff insisted they needed it. I told them to forget it, and I went to the competitor specialist.

I went to a new doctor last week. His forms asked for SS number, spouse's SS number, my PLACE of birth (that was a new one) and the names/contact numbers for two adult family members. I left all those lines blank.

Insanity.
Mr. Rumples
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by Mr. Rumples »

These security breaches happen all the time; the only ones we hear about are the large ones. Some of those are listed below. These places have state of the art security. But when a doctor's office or their billing service has a breach, its not gonna make the news, its not a big enough story.

https://healthitsecurity.com/news/the-1 ... 020-so-far

Before my retirement, my employer required all floppy discs coming into the agency - which employed thousands - to be sent to IT to be scanned for a virus. Does anyone really think as folks work from home that they are not using a computer which has had a flash drive which wasn't scanned by IT put in it? Its that simple to have malware installed.

Bon Secours is not on the list since their data breach happened a few years ago. But when I called about it, the person answering for them asked, and I have a very unique name, are you the XXX in this city or in this city. What? There are two people with my name. I did not know that, but yes there are and he lives only about 50 miles from me, but is a lot younger. So much for privacy.
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Leif
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by Leif »

No. Not required for billing.
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windaar
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by windaar »

Over the last 10 years whenever I've seen a new specialist or have been handed that clip board by any doctor's office I have always left the SSN field blank. No one has ever said anything about it.
Nobody knows nothing.
Northern Flicker
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by Northern Flicker »

You should be assuming that your father's SSN is already compromised and spending your energy helping him freeze his credit and helping him get credit reports, instead of fighting with the doctor's office about the matter.
Risk is not a guarantor of return.
criticalmass
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by criticalmass »

InMyDreams wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 7:11 pm My father is transitioning to a new doctor. He is on Medicare. The new office asked for his Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (i.e., new medicare number), but said they also needed his SSN for billing.

Really? Everything I've read says that Medicare billing is now based on MBI as the patient identifier.

AARP advises not sharing SSN unnecessarily.

Does Medicare require SSN for billing? Should I give his SSN to the new office?
Lots of healthcare providers ask for SSN. I've never provided it. You don't need to either.
criticalmass
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by criticalmass »

RetiredAL wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 4:44 pm Yes, I would give my full name, rank, and serial number to a doctor.
Not sure what your "Rank" would be to a doctor, unless you are in the military. OP is trying to get medical care, not fulfill Geneva Convention commitments in wartime.

Why give a doctor your social security number? Are they going to supply social security benefits? Are they going to give your their SSN? If answers are no, there is no reason to give it to them, nor anything else non-relevant. They need medicare or insurance information, not SSN.
criticalmass
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by criticalmass »

BobTexas wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 1:47 pm
FireFool wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 8:40 pm Make one up - not needed for billing.
That’s what I do rather then arguing with them about it
Using a false social security number that you claim to be yours is identity theft.
Better to leave blank. If any provider has a problem with that, call your state regulator and inquire about your privacy rights.
Even a well meaning office can have a bad day with security breaches, or any of their service providers can have a bad day.
droliver
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by droliver »

Despite what a number of people commenting seem to be suggesting, SSN's are pretty critical for the revenue cycle in medical practices. Bad debt and unpaid accounts receivable (AR) is pretty rampant and getting worse as people's out of pocket expense have gone up. SSN's give a fairly reliable way to track debtors down when they ghost you. The idea up-thread that medical practices are the main source of compromise of SSN's is absurd, it's the banks, the feds, credit card companies, and credit bureaus where most breaches have come from
student
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by student »

droliver wrote: Sun Jul 19, 2020 3:16 am Despite what a number of people commenting seem to be suggesting, SSN's are pretty critical for the revenue cycle in medical practices. Bad debt and unpaid accounts receivable (AR) is pretty rampant and getting worse as people's out of pocket expense have gone up. SSN's give a fairly reliable way to track debtors down when they ghost you. The idea up-thread that medical practices are the main source of compromise of SSN's is absurd, it's the banks, the feds, credit card companies, and credit bureaus where most breaches have come from
What I don't understand is how large can an unpaid bill be at a doctor's office. A routine doctor visit is about $100 one can insist that the copay be paid immediately (and many places do). If a bill is unpaid, the doctor office can refuse subsequent services and some of them are doing exactly this. (https://www.abc15.com/news/let-joe-know ... ical-bills) Regardless of whether medical practice is the main source of compromise of SSN, it is a source, and IMO it is prudent to eliminate as many unnecessary sources as possible.
Mr. Rumples
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by Mr. Rumples »

I don't think anyone is saying its the main source, rather it is a source. If banks, governmental entities, insurance companies are hacked, does anyone think the local practice is more secure? We don't know the extent since there is no central source to find the data. Small businesses account for 68% of all cyber attacks; there are HIPPA security rules, ask the practice how they comply. Perhaps they will have a good answer, perhaps you will get a blank stare.
toofache32
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by toofache32 »

student wrote: Sun Jul 19, 2020 6:04 am
droliver wrote: Sun Jul 19, 2020 3:16 am Despite what a number of people commenting seem to be suggesting, SSN's are pretty critical for the revenue cycle in medical practices. Bad debt and unpaid accounts receivable (AR) is pretty rampant and getting worse as people's out of pocket expense have gone up. SSN's give a fairly reliable way to track debtors down when they ghost you. The idea up-thread that medical practices are the main source of compromise of SSN's is absurd, it's the banks, the feds, credit card companies, and credit bureaus where most breaches have come from
What I don't understand is how large can an unpaid bill be at a doctor's office. A routine doctor visit is about $100 one can insist that the copay be paid immediately (and many places do). If a bill is unpaid, the doctor office can refuse subsequent services and some of them are doing exactly this. (https://www.abc15.com/news/let-joe-know ... ical-bills) Regardless of whether medical practice is the main source of compromise of SSN, it is a source, and IMO it is prudent to eliminate as many unnecessary sources as possible.
In my surgical office, my record is $11,000. And I have had many in the 2-3k range.

Refusing subsequent service is not always feasible, as this can open up liability for a negligence lawsuit, depending on the circumstances.
pahkcah
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by pahkcah »

Northern Flicker wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 11:22 pm You should be assuming that your father's SSN is already compromised and spending your energy helping him freeze his credit and helping him get credit reports, instead of fighting with the doctor's office about the matter.
Agree with your statement concerning freezing credit. Would recommend everyone do this, especially since doing so is now free. My Personal Identifiable Information (PII) was stolen in four major identity theft incidents, including theft of information on the Government Standard Form 86 for National Security Positions, so I assume everyone on the planet knows my SSN.

To answer the OP's question: no.
Flyer24
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by Flyer24 »

Several posts recommending giving false social security numbers have been deleted. Unethical advice is not proper for this forum.
ScubaHogg
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Re: Give new doctor a SSN?

Post by ScubaHogg »

celia wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 1:10 am Look at it from the perspective of the doctor’s office. What if a service is not covered by Medicare? (They are supposed to tell you that upfront, and have you ackowledge that in writing.). Then the patient is responsible for the bill.

Or if the service IS covered, who will pay the 20% that Medicare doesn’t cover (ie, show you have a Medigap plan).
Would you give your SSN to your car mechanic? Or house painter? No. There’s no difference.

There’s no need to give them your SSN. Don’t do it.
“Unexpected Returns dominate the Expected Returns” - Ken French
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