Health Insurance ID Cards
Your health insurance ID card is your proof of insurance. You use it when you visit the doctor, hospital or other provider. But, it is also a quick reference that tells you how much you may have to pay. Understanding your card can help you plan your healthcare expenses and get the care you need.
Most ID cards include:
Personal information. This includes your name and member ID number. If you are covered through your job, it also includes your employer’s name and/or group number.
Your insurer’s name and contact number. Keep your card handy in case you need to contact your insurer. You will generally need to give your member ID number when you call.
Your plan type. Types of plans can include an HMO, PPO, POS, EPO and others. Your plan type tells you the steps you follow to receive care. For instance, in an HMO, a primary care physician (PCP) coordinates your care. You need a referral from your PCP before you can see a specialist. Your PCP’s name will often be listed on your card.
What benefits are covered. These may include medical, dental, vision and prescription drug benefits (look for the Rx symbol).
Your costs. These may include your deductible, coinsurance and copays. (See cost sharing.) You may see different costs for in-network and out-of-network providers. Seeing doctors outside your plan’s network will most often cost you more.
Using Your Health Insurance ID Card
- Review your ID card as soon as you get it. If there are mistakes, ask for a new card.
- Make sure the costs on your card reflect what you know about your coverage.
- Show your card at the doctor’s office each time you get care. Make sure you’re charged the copay listed on your card. (Yearly health exams and other preventive services are free to patients under many plans.)
- Keep all your cards together. You may have more than one. For example, you may have separate prescription or dental coverage. Or, you may be covered by more than one plan. For instance, you and your spouse may have coverage through different plans.
You have selected a health plan, paid your first premium and can now start using your health coverage. One of the first things your health plan will do is send you a health insurance ID card. Your ID card is your proof of insurance when you visit the doctor, hospital or other type of provider. But it is also an easy and quick reference that lets you know how much you may have to pay out-of-pocket for care. Understanding this information can help you plan your healthcare expenses and get the care you need.