More and more insurance carriers are moving to the "unique" member ID system so as to protect the privacy of members' social security numbers.

Ever listened to the news when they are doing a story about identity theft? Experts tell you "never carry your social security card in your wallet". Well, we always joked that it won't help much if you carry your health insurance card with you because it is always the same. The carriers have responded to privacy interests by assigning these numbers in lieu of using SSNs.

The good news is that their system still recognizes both, so if a provider files with the social security number or if a member calls and doesn't have the number with them, they can still be helped.