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This Web site contains a compilation of more than a thousand consumer finance  columns written by Tony Novak from the 1980s through 2006, updated and reformatted for maximum usefulness today.  New material was added after 2010.

Content is the opinion of the author and does not represent the position of any other person or entity. Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed.

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originally posted: 11/22/2006  reposted: 2/18/2011 This post has not been recently reviewed or revised by the author and may be out of date. If in doubt, please send a new question or ask for an update.

Q: I recently considered getting a quote for supplemental health insurance at and noted that it requires the social security number of the applicant. At other sites, I saw that this was not a required field. I am not at all comfortable sending a social security number just for a quote. Is it actually required at this site or is there a way to see a health insurance quote without sending the number?

A: No legitimate online insurance requires a social security number for a quote, so this should trigger a red flag. The Web site you mentioned definitely does not ask for a social security number until you actually apply for coverage. Take a second look and you will see that only your age and location are needed for accurate pricing. On the other hand, all health insurance require a social security number for members to comply with tax regulations and there are no known issues of abuse of this information for online applications; all the sites supported by OnlineAdviser have a spotless track record for protecting private information.


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