November 19, 2014 by Tony Novak
OnlineNavigator service continues to receive questions about eligibility for health for applicants insurance without a social security number. As far as I can tell, the issues are imagined and not real. I am not aware of a single factual case where a person was actually denied access to health insurance on any state insurance exchange or private insurer in any state because they did not have a social security number.
In some cases individuals stopped filling out an online application for insurance when they reached the screen that asked them to enter their social security number. The application process cannot proceed while the screen field is left blank. Applicants are unaware that they can use an alternate identifying number. Applicants are also aware that except in the case where an applicant is applying for a premium tax credit subsidy, there is no verification of the identification number in the insurance application process.
Prior to implementation of the Affordable Care Act some niche market insurers required U.S. citizenship. A social security number was presumed to be associated with U.S. citizenship. In those few cases, insurers advertised that a social security number was required. As far as I know, all of those niche products have been withdrawn from the market.
So the bottom line is that any identifying number can be used in place of a social security number to obtain insurance for which the applicant is otherwise entitled to and meets other eligibility requirements. These additional resources may provide more details in specific situations:
1) Commentary on published HHS guidance on the requirement for a social security number for primary coverage through the federal insurance marketplace –
2) Overview of Inbound Immigrant insurance that is often a better option for a person who has been in the U.S. for less than two years –
3) Social security number issues as related to supplemental types of health insurance –