Even the top health insurance companies can and do share information about their clients at times. They also get information about their clients from other sources, especially in regards to underwriting. This being said, there is a limit as to who health insurance companies and providers can share your information with, thanks to the privacy rule by HIPAA.
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If you are concerned about your private health information being shared, it would be smart for you to do your research about the privacy laws and how they affect you. This article will discuss more information about these privacy protection guidelines.
How is individual health information protected?
Although you may feel that your health and medical information should be kept private, this is not always the case. Fortunately, in 1996, an act was passed that helps protect your information from getting into the wrong hands. This act is known as HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
This privacy rule is a great example of government regulations for health insurance companies. HIPAA offers protection on a federal level for your personal and individual health information. This refers to the information that covered entities have and gives you, as the patient, a variety of rights.
HIPAA also contains a security rule along with the privacy rule. The security rule outlines a number of technical, physical, and administrative safeguards so that the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of your health information are protected. For more information about the HIPAA rules visit the website for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Which covered entities does HIPAA apply to?
The HIPAA privacy rule protects consumers from certain entities sharing their health information. If an entity is not a covered one, they are not required to follow HIPAA rules and regulations.
There are a few categories that a covered entity entails. One is a health plan. This includes HMO health insurance companies, health care government programs like Medicaid and Medicare, and company health plans.
Another covered entity is any health care provider who transmits health information electronically. This may include clinics, doctors, dentists, psychologists, nursing homes, chiropractors, and pharmacies. If a health care professional does not send anything about the patient electronically, HIPAA rules do not apply.
The last covered entity is a clearinghouse for health care. This comprises those entities that take nonstandard health information and process into standard forms.
Why might a health insurance company share your health information?
Although HIPAA was designed to protect consumers from inappropriate sharing of health information, it also allows health information to be disclosed for certain reasons such as patient care.
When you apply for health insurance, your application goes through an underwriting process. This process includes looking at past health issues, prescription use, and doctor visits. The goal of this is to protect the insurance company from fraud and makes sure that you haven’t omitted any information on your application.
MIB Group Inc, better known as just MIB, is a corporation that is owned by a number of insurance companies in both the United States and Canada. Its job is to submit health and medical information about insurance applicants if requested by an insurance company.
The way that MIB gets its information is from the health insurance companies themselves. Whenever you use your insurance, whether it is for a doctor visit, prescription, or other service, the insurance company can report that use to MIB. The MIB keeps this information on file so that if you apply for new insurance it can let the new health insurance company know about your past insurance use and medical records.
If it is found that you have left something off of your application or lied in any way, your application will be denied or you may be charged more for your premium. This is why you should always be honest on your health insurance applications.
The MIB keeps information on individuals for 7 years and then the information must be purged. MIB compiles data about health, life, disability income, long term medical care, and critical illness insurance.
Although MIB shares certain health information with health insurance companies, it follows the privacy rules and regulations of the insurance companies it works with. This includes acts such as HIPAA. For more information about how you are protected you can check out the MIB website.
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