Consumer Reports February 10, 2015 3:00 PM
You’re filling out a pile of forms at the local hospital or when seeing a physician. You jot down your name, address, and insurance information. Then you come to a space for your Social Security number. Should you fill in those precious nine digits? If it’s your doctor or hospital asking, the answer is “No!” But it’s not so simple if you have Medicare or the question comes from your health insurance company.
Here’s what you need to know.
Giving up your Social Security number, which Stephens likens to the “keys to the kingdom,” can easily compromise your privacy and security if your medical records are stolen, as in the case of the recent hack of the health insurance companies of Anthem, Inc. “Both small and large providers may not have adequate security protocols to protect it,” he says. “And in the medical area you have a double whammy—medically sensitive and financially sensitive information.”