Published January 19, 2017

Some items go everywhere with us. Our phones, keys, driver’s licenses and credit cards are kept at our fingertips at all times. It’s easy to see why. Those items are unique to each of us, and provide access to the things we need. When it comes to healthcare services, that item is your Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) ID card.

While your BCBS ID card might not get as much use as those other items, it should be treated in the same way. Keep it in a safe, easily accessible place like your wallet. Your card contains key information about your health insurance coverage that is required when you need care, or pick up a prescription at the pharmacy. Keeping your card in a secure location will also help protect you from medical identity theft.

When your BCBS ID card arrives in the mail, take a moment to look for these five things:

1. Double-Check Details: Check your new card to ensure details like the spelling of your name and the type of plan you selected are correct. Contact your BCBS company for assistance correcting any errors.

2. Key Contact Information: Your BCBS ID card has important contact information to help you reach us. The phone numbers you need for everything from customer service to eligibility questions are usually found on the back of your card.

3. Your Member ID Number: Your BCBS ID card has your member number, and in some cases, your employer group number. You’ll need this information when receiving medical services at the doctor or pharmacy, or when calling customer service for assistance.

4. Your Plan Type: If you forget or aren’t sure what type of health insurance plan you have (like an HMO or PPO), you can find out on your BCBS ID card. If you have an HMO, your card may also list the physician or group you’ve selected for primary care.

5. Your Co-Pays: Your BCBS ID card may include a list of the co-pay amounts you can expect to pay for common services, like a doctor’s visit or trip to the emergency room.

If you have misplaced or haven’t yet received your BCBS ID card, a temporary ID card may be available online. Visit your local BCBS company’s website for details.

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The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is an association of 36 independent, locally operated Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield companies.