What Is the Medicare HIC Number?





The Medicare Health Insurance Claim (HIC) number is a patient’s unique identification code on his or her Medicare card. The current system for assigning HIC numbers was adopted in 1990, and follows a proscribed method that eliminates duplication. It is a nine-digit social security number plus a one or two-position suffix identifier.

Medicare HIC Nine Digit Number Assignment

The social security number (SSN) is the nine-digit code assigned to the wage earner under whose benefits the eligible person is receiving Medicare. For example, a non-working wife will be assigned an HIC number that contains her wage earning husband’s SSN. However, if the wife is collecting Medicare benefits under her own earnings, then her HIC reflects her personal nine-digit SSN.

Medicare HIC Unique Suffix Code

Each HIC number has an additional suffix made up of a letter or a letter and a number. This suffix is the Beneficiary Identification Code (BIC) and stores the relationship between the beneficiary and the primary social security number.

For example, a social security number followed by an A simply indicates the holder is a retired worker or disabled worker. A B suffix indicates a wife (over 65) of the primary social security number. A B1 indicates a husband of a retired wage earner. A C suffix indicates a child or grandchild of a retiree, or a disabled child and/or student. The D suffix indicates widow/widower, and an E suffix signifies a widowed mother. Additional numerical digits provide more detailed relationship information.

Medicare Codes May Change

Medicare HIC numbers may change if the relationship to the wage earner changes. For example, if the wife becomes a widow of the wage earner, the letter code will be changed to reflect this status.



13 Responses to “What Is the Medicare HIC Number?”

  1. Peggy Austin says:

    My husband will be 65 in two years, my question he is paying child support their current ages 14 and 11. How does child support get paid if all he will be collecting is social security?

    • D. West says:

      He will continue to be obligated to pay child support. He would be wise to seek a reduction in his support obligation if his only income will be Social Security Retirement Benefits. Of course, if his only income will be SSRI, then he would be a fool to retire at age 65. You should also prepare yourself for a reduction in child support. Begin saving now so when the time comes, you won’t be totally dependent on an income stream that may disappear. Another key point is that Social Security Retirement Benefits can be garnished to pay child support.

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