Health Insurance

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    The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy and Security Rules establish federal requirements for keeping your health information secure. The HIPAA Privacy Rule generally requires healthcare providers and health plans to safeguard your health information. This requirement applies to both paper and electronic records. The HIPAA Security Rule more specifically details the steps your healthcare providers and others must take to keep your electronic protected health information secure.
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    The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Security Rule requires providers to assess the security of their electronic health record (EHR) systems. The rule sets technical safeguards for protecting electronic health records against the risks that are identified in the assessment. Some of the steps that may be taken to reduce the risks include:
    • Access controls such as passwords or PIN numbers that limit access to your information to authorized individuals, like your doctors or nurses
    • Encryption of your information, which means your health information cannot be read or understood except by someone who can decrypt it, using a key made available only to authorized individuals
    • Audit trails, which record who accessed your information, what changes were made and when they were made, provide an additional layer of security.
    • Workstation security, which ensures that computer terminals that can access your health records cannot be used by unauthorized persons
    Your providers must have risk management policies and procedures in place to assess security risks and to ensure that known risks are addressed and prevented.
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    Some websites offer a place to store your health records online. These are often called personal health records (PHRs). Some personal health records are offered by healthcare providers and health plans and are covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy, Security and Breach Notification Rules. Other personal health records (PHRs) are offered by stand-alone companies. If these PHR companies are not covered by HIPAA, they must follow the Federal Trade Commission's Health Breach Notification Rule and notify you if there is a breach of your information.
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    Most of your healthcare providers and your health insurance company must give you a HIPPA notice, or a notice of privacy practice. This notice tells you how they may legally use and share your health information. It will also explain how you can exercise your health information privacy rights. The provider or health insurance company cannot use or disclose information in a way that is not consistent with its notice.
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    According to the Consumer Health Information Bill of Rights, you have the right to file a complaint about the way your health information is handled including, but not limited to, privacy and security concerns. You have a right to expect a timely response and resolution. A complaint or violation can be reported to the organization and/or other state or federal agencies.
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    According to the Consumer Health Information Bill of Rights, you have the right to expect that organizations will hold staff responsible for any improper access, use or release of your health information. You have the right to expect that a breach of your health information will be investigated as required by law. You can further expect to be notified of harmful breaches and assisted accordingly.
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    For information about the health information laws in your state, visit the website of The Center for Democracy and Technology.

    Most health records are subject to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule. Health records originated by the federal government, such as the Veterans Administration or Indian Health Services, are also subject to the Privacy Act of 1974.

    Health records originated by federally subsidized substance abuse programs are subject to the Confidentiality of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Patient Records rule.

    If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you should contact the privacy officer of the provider or hospital where you believe the violation occurred to try to resolve your concern. If you are unable to resolve your concern locally, you can file a formal complaint regarding the organization’s privacy practices directly to the organization, health plan, or to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The OCR is charged with investigating complaints and enforcing the privacy regulation.

    See more at: http://myphr.com/resources/faqs.aspx
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    According to the Consumer Health Information Bill of Rights, you have a right to request a limit on the medical information released to others involved in your care or the payment of your care. Your provider has the right to deny the request, but must provide you with a reason if it cannot be met. However, a request to keep information from your healthcare insurer must be granted if you pay for the service in full at time of delivery.
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    According to the Consumer Health Information Bill of Rights, you have the right to a notice that explains how your health information is used. Your healthcare provider must give you a Notice of Privacy Practices that describes the possible uses and disclosures of your health information. You have a right to an accounting of disclosures (as required by law), which is a summary listing of who has received your information.
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    According to the Consumer Health Information Bill of Rights, you have the right to identify and request changes or additions to your health information when you believe information is incorrect or incomplete. It is up to your provider whether or not the requested change or addition will be made to the health record. However, your written request for changes or additions will remain with your health record.