Did you know that HIPAA enables the use and disclosure of your medical records?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) began to help you stay insured while switching jobs. But in 2003, changes made to HIPAA eliminated your right to control the disclosure of your own medical records.
What’s in your medical record?
Health information is extremely intimate. Records contain prescriptions, sexually transmitted infections, abortions or fertility treatments, testing for the Alzheimer’s gene, your child’s Autism or ADD, sexually transmitted infections, hospital admissions, and addiction treatment.
Because our medical records contain some of our most sensitive information, we should have a say in who sees them.
Understanding HIPAA Today
Amendments to the “Privacy Rule” opened American’s medical records to:
- Government agencies
- Insurance companies
- Billing firms
- Transcription services
- Pharmacy benefit managers
- Pharmaceutical companies
- Data miners
Myths about HIPAA?
- What you tell your doctor is totally private
- If you sign “privacy notices” at a doctor’s office, a pharmacy, a hospital, or a lab, your medical records will not be used or disclosed without your permission
- No one can look at your medical records, prescriptions, or tests without your consent
What happens when someone accesses your records?
- You are not notified of any routine use or disclosure of your medical records
- Access to your record is retroactive (even if you paid out-of-pocket or were guaranteed privacy at the time)
Marketers Legally Use Your Medical Information
Companies can market to you legally if the advertisement is:
- About a medication, product or service covered by your plan and the communication comes from your insurer
- Related to your diagnosis or treatment
- Involved in the management or coordination of your care
- Recommends alternative treatments, therapies, health care providers or care settings
We are working to close loopholes that expose your medical records without your consent or knowledge.