Medicare now requires dependents' SSNs

May 20, 2009

A new federal law requires railroad workers to provide the Social Security numbers of their dependents.

The Medicare secondary payer statute and regulations contain a series of rules for determining whether Medicare is the primary payer for a person who has both Medicare and other health coverage.

In order to satisfy these regulations, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency responsible for administering health-related programs, has implemented new reporting requirements.

Consequently, the national railroad carriers, the UTU Health and Welfare Plan and the Railway Employees National Health and Welfare Plan (“The Plan”) are participating in an all-out effort to obtain Social Security numbers (SSNs) for all covered dependents (wives, husbands and children) in order to achieve compliance with these new reporting requirements.

In addition, the Medicare Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) will also be required for any dependent eligible for Medicare.

In order to get this initiative underway, Railroad Enrollment Services will begin mailing information to those members identified with missing dependent SSNs and/or HICNs.

The members identified with missing dependent information should provide this information through a special direct mailing in early June.

Outlined below is a brief summary that will be included in the instructions you will receive from Railroad Enrollment Services:

  • If The Plan records do not show a SSN for any given dependent, you will be asked to provide all nine digits of the number. For information on how to obtain a Social Security number for a newborn child or newly adopted child, visit
  • If any dependent is Medicare eligible, Railroad Enrollment Services will ask you to provide all digits and/or characters of the HICN, which is on the front of the red, white and blue Medicare health insurance card under the words “Medicare claim number.”
  • By July 15, 2009, the Social Security number reporting form must be signed, dated and returned to Railroad Enrollment Services at the address provided in the mailing.

Please be assured that when Railroad Enrollment Services transmits the SSNs and/or HICNs to CMS, they will maintain all physical, electronic and procedural safeguards that comply with federal standards to guard your personal information.

For additional information regarding the new CMS federal law pertaining to this requirement, visit