CMS - How to Understand Medicare's ID Numbers (HIC or HICN)

by  Christine Woolstenhulme, QCC, QMCS, CPC, CMRS
September 23rd, 2014

A HIC number (HICN) is a Medicare beneficiary’s identification number. Also, remember when billing, ALWAYS use the name as it appears on the patient's Medicare card.

Both CMS and the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) issue Medicare HIC numbers. The format of a HIC number issued by CMS is a Social Security number followed by an alpha or alphanumeric Beneficiary Identification Code (BIC).

RRB numbers issued before 1964 are six-digit numbers preceded by an alpha character.

After 1964, the RRB began using Social Security numbers as Medicare beneficiary identification numbers preceded by an alpha character.


Below are the characteristics for each HIC type.

• 9- Digit Social Security number

• alpha suffix

        “A” beneficiary (retired worker or disabled worker)

        “B” spouse (spouse is over 65)

        “C” children (child or grandchild of a retiree)

        “D” divorced spouse, widow, widower

        "E" widowed mother

Additional numerical digits provide more detailed relationship information (e.g., “C1” first child )

pre-1964        •alpha prefix        •6-digit random numbers RRB

post-1964       •alpha prefix        •9-digit Social Security number




CMS - How to Understand Medicare's ID Numbers (HIC or HICN). (2014, September 23). Find-A-Code Articles. Retrieved from

© InnoviHealth Systems Inc

Article Tags  (click on a tag to see related articles)

Publish this Article on your Website, Blog or Newsletter

This article is available for publishing on websites, blogs, and newsletters. The article must be published in its entirety - all links must be active. If you would like to publish this article, please contact us and let us know where you will be publishing it. The easiest way to get the text of the article is to highlight and copy. Or use your browser's "View Source" option to capture the HTML formatted code.

If you would like a specific article written on a medical coding and billing topic, please Contact Us.


innoviHealth Systems, Inc.
62 East 300 North
Spanish Fork, UT 84660
Phone: 801-770-4203 (9-5 Mountain)
free demo
request yours today
for any budget
sign IN
welcome back!

Thank you for choosing Find-A-Code, please Sign In to remove ads.