What Is a BNC Number?

In this article...
  • A BNC number is a Beneficiary Notice Code used by the Social Security Administration to identify documents and notices. Learn more about BNC codes and other numbers related to Social Security and Medicare.

There are a lot of numbers associated with Social Security and Medicare. One of these is a BNC, or Beneficiary Notice Code.  

What Is the BNC?

The BNC is an encrypted 13-character alphanumeric code that is used to identify documents from the Social Security Administration. The BNC is used instead of Social Security numbers or Medicare numbers as a security measure to prevent identity theft.

Each document that the Social Security Administration sends to beneficiaries contains a BNC that is unique to that individual document. Beneficiaries do not have a BNC like they have a Social Security number or Medicare number. Rather, each document is assigned its own BNC.

If you receive three separate documents from Social Security, you will see three different BNCs. These documents can include notices, claim forms and other communication. Social Security Administration employees use a lookup tool to identify the beneficiary associated with the BNC.

A BNC is also used on select Medicare documents such as benefit verification letters. 

Is BNC the Same as a Claim Number?

A BNC is not the same as a claim number.

Social Security uses your Social Security number for benefit claims. This number consists of nine digits and an alphanumeric suffix that identifies the type of beneficiary and their qualification category.

A Medicare claim number is an 11-number code consisting of only numbers and uppercase letters. You can find your Medicare number on your red, white and blue Medicare card.

A Medicare claim number is the same thing as your Medicare number, or Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI). Your Medicare number is used to identify you as a beneficiary, instead of using your Social Security number. It is also used to file your Medicare claims when you receive health care services or items.

Your Social Security number (SSN) may be found on your Social Security card, tax returns, W-2’s and bank statements. 

Where Do I Find My Medicare Number?

Your Medicare number can be found on your Medicare card under “Medicare Number.” Medicare numbers do not use the letters S, L, O, I, B or Z to avoid confusion.

You may also see your Medicare number online by creating an account with MyMedicare.gov.

Medicare beneficiaries typically do not have to file claims on their own. Health care providers use your Medicare card to file a claim with Medicare on your behalf. They have one year from the date of service to do so. If the claim is not filed in a timely manner, you may file it yourself by submitting a Patient Request for Medical Payment along with an itemized bill for the service and a reason for your filing.

How Can I Get More Help with Social Security or Medicare?

For additional help with Social Security, you may call 1-800-772-1213 or visit your local Social Security office.

You may also email the Social Security Administration using the online contact form or mail a letter to:

Social Security Administration
Office of Public Inquiries and Communications Support
1100 West High Rise
6401 Security Blvd
Baltimore, MD 21235

For assistance with Medicare, you may call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) or send a letter to:

Medicare Contact Center Operations
PO Box 1270
Lawrence, KS 66044

You may also log in to your Medicare.gov account for help with billing, claims, medical records and more.

Read More
A smiling couple uses their laptop computer in a bright room at home
After applying for disability, you may want to check the status of your application. Find out more ...
Smiling couple outdoors with sun in the background
How do Medigap plans and Medicare Advantage plans differ? How can you decide which type of plan is ...
Smiling grandfather plays with young grandson on couch at home
Aetna and UnitedHealthcare are both major providers of Medicare Advantage insurance plans. Our review ...