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3 Things You Should Know About the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

April 20, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 118

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 of the United States was brought in to revamp the health care and the medical insurance sector of the country. The act enables the user or the customer to have fair control over his or her personal and sensitive medical information. It protects the health insurance of the customer, even during events like loss of job or loss of existing cover.

With the way of life becoming more and more digitized, storage of sensitive information, sharing of information and maintaining databases has become important. The HIPAA's Privacy and Security Rule were framed to protect the privacy of the consumers and making the healthcare houses and the insurance providers more accountable with regards to the privacy of information. All customers and patients under the HIPAA must be well versed with the Privacy and Security Rule for their own benefits. The circulars and the notices must be read and understood. Listed below are three things one must know about the HIPAA.

• Covered Entities are required to give the customers the Right to Privacy. Covered entities, which are usually insurance firms or healthcare organizations, are the primary insurance providers. It is the responsibility of the covered entities to educate the consumers about the insurance they are planning to take, to educate them of their rights they are entitled to and explain to them about all about the HIPAA. Under the HIPAA, the customer or the patient entrusts the covering house with his personal and sensitive medical information. It is the duty and responsibility of the covered entity to protect the information and not share it with any one else without the consent of the owner of the insurance. The patient is also allowed to access his or her own records and make copies of it.

• Most of your personal and medical information is protected. As per the rules of the act, almost all personal and medical information is protected. This would include your conversations with your healthcare provider, conversations between doctors and nurses regarding your health and your billing information during the medical visit, along with other information which is registered with the health insurance provider.

• You must be aware of all the changes and amendments in the act. Time and again, updates, changes and amendments are made to the HIPAA. It is very important for the covered entity to understand the changes and bring out notifications to educate the customer. The Privacy Officer in the covered entity is required to bring out notifications. Updates may be in the form of emails, flyers, post or circulars. Periodically, a brief of the act should be sent to all the customers. Failure to inform the customer is an offense and the customer has the right to file a complaint under the act.

It is very important for all, the insurance providers, the patients and the healthcare organizations, to understand the HIPAA and its working. The patients need to know that their data is safe and protected and the insurance providers and health care houses need to respect the privacy and take all the necessary steps to protect the information.

For more information, please visit our HIPAA website.

Source: EzineArticles
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