What do you need to know about your Health Information Privacy Rights? Your health information is private and should be protected. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) gives you rights over your health information, including the right to get a copy of your information, make sure it is correct and find out who has seen it.
This Know Your Benefits article is provided by TPG Insurance Services and is to be used for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of an insurance professional.
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Get a copy of your information
Your Health Information Privacy Rights allow you to ask to see or receive a copy of your medical records and other health information. If you want a copy, you may have to put your request in writing and pay for the cost of copying and mailing. In most cases, copies must be given to you within 30 days.
Verify your information is correct
You can ask to change any wrong information in your file or add information to your file if you think something is missing or incomplete. For example, if you and your hospital agree that your file has the wrong result for a test, the hospital must change it. Even if the hospital believes the test result is correct, you still have the right to have your disagreement noted in your file. In most cases, the file should be updated within 60 days.
Find out who has seen your information
By law, your health information can be used and shared for specific reasons not directly related to your care, such as making sure doctors give good care, making sure nursing homes are clean and safe, reporting when the flu is in your area or reporting as required by state or federal law. In many of these cases, you can find out who has seen your health information.
Learn how your health information is used and shared by your doctor or health insurer
Generally, your health information cannot be used for purposes not directly related to your care without your permission. For example, your doctor cannot give it to your employer or share it for things like marketing and advertising without your written authorization. You probably received a notice telling you how your health information may be used when you first visited a new health care provider or when you got new health insurance, but you can ask for another copy at any time.
Limit what information can be shared
Your Health Information Privacy Rights also permit you to let your providers or health insurance companies know if there is information you do not want to share. You can ask that your health information not be shared with certain people, groups or companies. If you go to a clinic, for example, you can ask the doctor not to share your medical records with other doctors or nurses at the clinic. You can also ask your health care provider or pharmacy not to tell your health insurance company about care you receive or drugs you take if you pay for the care or drugs in full and if the provider or pharmacy does not need to get paid by your insurance company.
Additionally, you can ask to be reached somewhere other than home. You can make reasonable requests to be contacted at different places or in a different way. For example, you can ask to have a nurse call you at your office instead of your home or to send mail to you in an envelope instead of on a postcard.
If you think your rights are being denied or your health information is not being protected, you have the right to file a complaint with your provider, your health insurer or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. To learn more, visit www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Ready to learn more about your Health Information Privacy Rights? Visit our Contact Us page or call (855) 874-4677 to talk to a specialist. You may also want to read about our Health Insurance options here.