Social security number not required for health insurance

I’ve answered thousands of emails and telephone calls for Freedom Benefits web site users since 1995. It seems like at least once per week I get some version of this same question:

“I am looking for health insurance for my mother. She has an ITIN number but no social security number.”

My response: Your mother is eligible for any health insurance plan listed on Simply use the ITIN when it ask for a social security number Pricing, description of coverage and enrollment are all completed online but let us know if you have any questions or need help with the selection process.

It seems that there is some deep-rooted belief that a social security number is required to obtain health insurance. It is not. The federal government and commercial health insurers have published pages of references documenting this fact. I presume that other people can Google it as easily as I can. Yet the perception persists and the question never seems to die.

I do add that you can not leave the social security number field blank. The computer will not process the application with a blank field. But plenty of people use alternate numbers they make up including “123-45-6789” to legally obtain health insurance. The federal insurance exchange at is clear that applicants can use alternate numbers to obtain health insurance


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