HIPAA: What are your privacy rights as a patient?

Health and wellness is a very personal thing. Isn’t that why so many of us are nervous to visit the doctor? Sharing the details of your health can be scary and embarrassing – it’s completely normal to feel that way. Luckily, most of us are able to find a health care provider we feel comfortable with. But, the details of your well-being are personal and private, and remain between you and your health care provider.  That is why there are laws in place to harbor your rights as a patient; including a law that protects your privacy, which is known as HIPAA – the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

HIPAA is a set of national standards that secures certain health information. The point is to ensure individuals’ health information is properly guarded while still giving health care providers access to the information they need to administer the highest quality health care possible.

What information does HIPAA protect?

  • Any information listed by a doctor, nurse or other health care provider in your medical record.
  • Conversations and documented details about your care or treatment.
  • Billing information.

Who must follow HIPAA?

  • Health plans, including health insurance companies, HMOs, company health plans and certain government programs
  • Health care clearinghouses
  • Health care providers

How does your information stay safe?

Entities required to follow HIPAA must:

  • Establish safeguards, including methods to limit the use and disclosure of your information to the minimum needed to keep you healthy.
  • Have a system in place that restricts and limits who can access and view your information.
  • Have contracts in place with outside vendors that may need to access your information. These contracts ensure that vendors use, disclose and safeguard your information properly.

Want to learn more about HIPAA? Ask questions, see answers and learn about health insurance on Health Insurance Central.

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