Eli5: Why are health cards not allowed when asked for government issued ID?


Everytime I am asked to bring government issued ID to a meeting. I am told health cards will not count. Why not? It shows a photo and it’s government issued. But drivers licenses are allowed, hell in most places they will accept credit cards.

Canada Ontario

In: Other

How could anyone answer this question without you specifying where you live?

It might be helpful to disclose what country you are in. In the US I’ve never seen any insurance card include a picture of the insured, and neither do most credit/debit cards.

Obligatory this answer is from an American here. Government issued ID cards have photo, name, and date of birth, and are only issued with certified residency. Health cards, despite also being government issued, usually don’t have all the security features that are present on other government issued ID (because its usage in the Health offices provide different checks against fraud and counterfeit.)

For health information security reasons, the contents of the card itself, like the number, are under various laws and regulations. You’ve heard of HIPPA, right? It’s illegal to keep records on the contents of the card unless you’re actually in health care, etc and subject to all the rules that go with it.

Your health card in BC is attached to your drivers license, but you can ask for it separately as its own card. This is issued with a photo and can be used as a piece of government ID. Previously the card didn’t have a photo and that was why it couldn’t be used except as secondary ID.