July 31, 2014 by Tony Novak
Health insurance companies request the social security number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) of any policy owner at the time of application. That social security number may be used later to report benefit payments to the Internal Revenue Service. Online health insurance applications include a mandatory field for the social security number; it cannot be skipped. As a result, individuals applying for insurance who do not have a social security number must insert a different number. An ITIN issued by the US Department of Treasury Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can be used in place of the SSN on an insurance application for any of the policies listed on www.FreedomBenefits.net or the other linked insurance exchanges.
Alternately, for visitors to the U.S., the first nine digits of a passport number can still be accepted in place of a social security number on the insurance application. Eligibility for the large majority of health insurance plans is based solely on location of residence and citizenship is not an issue.
International insurance policies for foreign nationals in the US do not require either a SSN or ITIN so this may be a better option for a short-term insurance coverage need. Some of the most popular insurance policies for applicants without a social security number are listed below. All are available completely online.
Inbound Immigrant – usually the best value for those who have been in the U.S. for less than two years
Core Health Insurance – guaranteed issue (no medical questions) limited benefit insurance coverage that may be used with any doctor or hospital. Includes liberal coverage for pre-existing conditions after the policy has been in force for 12 months.
Value Access Guarantee – guaranteed issue limited benefits, association group-type coverage.