What Is the Rx Bin in Health Insurance?

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) was developed to increase the U.S. marketplace position in the worldwide economy while recognizing the need guarantee the health and safety of all end users and the environment in which we live 1. ANSI is the watchdog for nearly every division of business from energy allocation to farm animals they regulate programs to evaluate acceptable standards and compliance in all industries. This is also true when it comes to prescription (Rx) drugs.

Prescription drugs

The word prescription, abbreviated Rx, is a drug that can not be bought unless it has been prescribed by a physician. According to Medicinenet.com, the abbreviation for prescription, "Rx is usually said to stand for the Latin word recipe meaning to take." Others believe the "origin of Rx" "was derived from the astrological sign for Jupiter which was once placed on prescriptions to invoke that god's blessing on the drug to help the patient recover."

Health Insurance

If you are fortunate enough to have health insurance coverage, most plans include a Rx drug benefit as well. Some insurance plans have a dual use health insurance card others issue a separate prescription drug information card. A dual use card includes your prescription drug information as well as your medical insurance information on the same card. Other carriers provide you with a separate card for your Rx benefits. When you have a Rx to fill, you will need to present the correct card to your pharmacy as the card contains identifying information on how to fill your prescription.

Uniform Prescription Drug Cards

To provide pharmacists with a reliable means of locating the specific information needed to process and submit a prescription claim, certain information appears on a dual health insurance or prescription drug cards. The information needed includes your date of birth, your policy group number, the card holder name, your id number and the Rx Bank Identification Number (BIN).


A BIN number, or bank identification number is misleading in the fact that no bank is involved in issuing your prescription drug. According to Pharmacy Tech Resources, "the term was carried over from the early days of electronic banking jargon" 2. The BIN used today is a 5 digit number that tells a pharmacist which company will reimburse them for the cost of the prescription and where to send the claim for reimbursement too.

Claim Transmission

Prescriptions are sent electronically via a computer system. It is sent directly to what is know as a Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) who are companies that only handle prescription billing. Each insurance carrier uses one PBM for claims processing, however more than one carrier may use the same PBM. The BIN number indicates which PBM a pharmacist sends your prescription claim to.