Every healthcare provider is required to have a unique National Provider Identifier (NPI) number to submit claims or conduct any other transaction as specified by HIPAA. Getting an NPI number is free, and not having one could be costly!  

We advise you to apply for an NPI number now before you need to bill for services. Per CMS, the electronic NPI application could take fewer than 10 days, and a paper application takes about 20 business days.  

Now that you know the “why,” it’s time to get started. There are three ways to apply for an NPI number, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS):

  1. Submit an online application through the National Plan and Provider Enumeration System (NPPES) website.
  2. Mail a paper application (Form CMS-10114) to the relevant NPI Enumerator address. Call 800-465-3203 or TTY 800-692-2326, or email customerservice@npienumerator.com to request a hard copy.
  3. Partner with an Electronic File Interchange Organization (EFIO) to send an application on your behalf. 

When applying online, you must first register with the CMS Identities & Access Management System to create an account. You will then navigate to the NPPES website to complete an application. 

The application process typically takes between 15 and 20 minutes. After you submit your application, you will receive your unique NPI number; the timeline will vary depending on the type of application method and the volume of applications being processed at a given time! Your unique 10-digit number will never expire or be recycled – it is yours for life.

If you have other questions about NPI, here is a booklet of answers from the CMS. We welcome you to also contact Medicus to learn more about the NPI number application process.