Keeping my SSN private
July 4, 2005 2:15 PM Subscribe
I have a new health care provider via a state-sponsored program. They use my social security number as my ID number. What is the most effective way to fight this?
It is on the health care ID card I am pretty much required to carry. I have to write it on the checks I use to pay my premiums. It's on every bill and statement I get. I would prefer to not use my SSN as an identifying number, not so much that I will forego health care, but enough that I be willing to try fairly hard to get them to change their mind. I'm not against giving them my SSN, I know why that is important, I just don't want to have to carry it in my wallet or write it on my checks. It seems that in this day and age requiring people to do that is a bad idea though not, as many people have told me now, illegal. Here is what I have done so far.
- I called my provider and asked them for an alternative number, and they said no. This has worked in the past with all of my other health care providers, including state insurance in other states. I asked to speak to a manager there and was told my request would be sent to a manager who would get back to me if there was anything they could do.
- I contacted the state heath care agency who gave me two weeks' worth of back and forth before saying "It's policy to use it, we need to have it to ID you" which I think was missing the point I was trying to make, but follow-up emails were not returned.
- I contacted the state health care omsbudsman who said if I had a religious objection, I could get an alternate number. I do not have a religious objection and am somewhat opposed to claiming I have one. However, this implies that there is a mechanism for providing alternate numbers.
So, I'm wavering between contacting one of my elected officials by phone [state senator or maybe Congressmen], trying to arrange a meeting with an administrator at the health care agency, or going the letter to the editor route. I'm tenacious, but I'd like to work towards results, not just idle fist-shaking.
I was wondering if anyone has experience fighting the use of their SSN in similar ways and what worked for you -- both resource-wise and who-to-contact-wise -- and what was lesss useful.