The primary right you have under the HIPAA privacy rule is control over how your personal information is used or disclosed.
HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, signed into law in 1996. This is protective legislation which provided portability of important benefit rights and increased accountability for the disclosure of personal health information by those who collect such information in the performance of their services to you.
The first phase of the law’s application provided ways to reduce or eliminate the pre-existing condition, benefit waiting period when changing medical plans. This makes the benefit eligibility you have achieved for continuing health conditions portable between medical plans when you have been covered in a creditable health plan for 18 months or more without a break in coverage. (Specific rules apply.) The result of this portability is the reduction or full elimination of the period of time over which you must wait to receive benefits for a pre-existing condition. HIPAA legislation also established that pre-existing condition waiting periods could not be longer than 12 months. A letter of Creditable Coverage should be obtained from the plan administrator each time you leave a medical insurance plan for use in applying for new coverage.
Along with the portability protection described above, the law further includes provisions for obtaining individual coverage from eligible insurers who must not reject your request so long as you have completed certain obligations, including exhausting all COBRA Continuation of Coverage rights.
The second phase of HIPAA rules were designed to protect you and protect the security of your personal health information. The law assures you numerous rights regarding your health coverage and medical information, but the Privacy Rule specifically addresses your right to keep protected health information secure and limited to only the people who need to see it.
HIPAA provides the following rights:
- Right to obtain copies of your health information
- Right to request amendment to your information
- Right to an accounting of disclosures of your health information
- Right to request restrictions to those accessing your health information
- Right to alternative confidential communications
- Right to make a privacy complaint
Check the privacy notice provided to you by your health care provider or health plan for details on how to exercise any of these rights. Varipro has provided each of their client companies with a signed Business Associate Agreement pledging HIPAA security compliance and accountability for protecting all Personal Health Information. Retirees whose fully insured plans are administered by Varipro are also provided with a Security Authorization and Revocation Agreement wherein they may designate and/or revoke the names of individuals who may ask for and receive protected personal health information.
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