ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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State of Texas Mandates ANSI-Issued Identification Numbers for Prescription Benefit Discount Cards


New York, Mar 11, 2008

In the latest edition of the state’s Health and Safety Code (HSC), Texas lawmakers have written in an important role for the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

Effective January 1, 2008, Chapter 76 on Discount Health Care Programs mandates that operators of prescription benefit discount card programs obtain an ANSI-assigned Issuer Identification Number (IIN) that must be displayed on any membership cards distributed to their customers.

Whether a consumer is filling a prescription, using a debit card, or renting a movie, the IIN program is key to the interoperability of card transaction data. Established by joint International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) committee JTC 1/SC 17, Cards and Personal Identification, the IIN program is set forth in ISO/IEC 7812.

An IIN is a unique number that is assigned to any card-issuing institution, be it a bank, retail store, or discount card program operator, as in the Texas HSC. The IIN is six digits, but most numbering schemes allow for up to 18 digits on a card, permitting organizations to customize customer account numbers.

The basic six-digit IIN is assigned to a card-issuing organization by the American Bankers Association (ABA), which is the ISO/IEC 7812 Registration Authority and an ANSI member. As the U.S. member body to both ISO and IEC, ANSI plays an important role in the process by acting as the Sponsoring Authority of IIN applications from U.S.-based organizations.

The new statewide mandate is the latest example of public sector reliance upon standards developed with a private-sector lead. The requirements outlined in Chapter 76 of the Texas HSC build upon existing legislation in the Texas Insurance Code which requires health care insurance providers to use an IIN on their prescription drug cards. The new HSC language also draws an important distinction between discount health care programs, which represent a business arrangement where access to discounts on health care services is offered in exchange for a fee, and insurance policies, which are covered in the Texas Insurance Code.

For additional information about the Issuer Identification Number program or to obtain an application, please visit ANSI’s website at www.ansi.org/iin or contact Michael Maher, ANSI IIN registration coordinator (212.642.4990; mmaher@ansi.org).

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