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What You Need to Know About a Health Insurance Card

Professionally reviewed by OIWK Registration Supervisor | February 3, 2022

Health insurance plans are about as different as the conditions they cover. Some are expensive and expansive. Some are cheap and basic. But they all have one thing in common—a health insurance card. Every carrier will send one after you sign up for a plan. Once you receive it, store the card in a safe place because that piece of plastic contains a lot of crucial info.

Here’s what you might see on your health insurance card.


Contact Information


It seems obvious, but your health insurance card will contain your name. If you’re not the policyholder, particularly if you’re a child, the card might also list the name of the insurance subscriber.

It will include contact information for your health insurance company, as well, such as a phone number, address, or website. You can use this info to ask questions about your claims or coverage.

Finally, your card could also include the start date for your health insurance coverage. If it doesn’t, you can always get that detail from your insurance company.


Important Numbers


Your health insurance card will include some numbers that might feel confusing at first. For example, all cards contain a policy number or subscriber number, which companies use to track your medical bills. You can identify this information by looking for the item marked “Policy ID,” “Policy #,” or “Subs #.”

You may also see a “group number” on your card, particularly if you get health insurance coverage through an employer. This item merely helps your carrier identify your employer’s policy, but it’s a must for your insurance claims.


Payment Information


A health insurance card could also feature information about how much your carrier will pay for treatment. Typically, you’ll see this listed as percentages for various costs such as specialty care, urgent care, office visits, and emergency room visits. If you see a second list of percentages, that will probably note “in-network” versus “out-of-network” costs.

Additionally, your insurance card could contain a set dollar amount required for a certain type of care, called a co-pay. That is what you will pay every time you need the service. Several dollar amounts will indicate different co-pays for different types of care.

Finally, you might also see an “Rx” symbol by a dollar amount or percentage, showing what your insurance will pay for prescription medication. It could list your pharmacy network, if you have one, along with an Rx BIN—or banking identification number—to indicate who will pay for the medication.

If you have any questions about health insurance card information, call your insurance carrier’s customer service line.