Federal law protects the privacy of your health information. Because your health information is unique and valuable, it is protected by law, including under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”) and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (“HITECH”). We live in an age of virtual record-keeping and electronic data, which makes sharing and storing information faster and easier. However, this also means that sensitive personal information is easier to fraudulently access, including demographic data, physical or mental health conditions, health care history, and healthcare payment history. It is also important that you take steps to protect your own health information. Be mindful of when and to whom you give this information, including your Social Security number, especially over the phone or online.
Protecting your information on shared plans. If your healthcare is covered on someone else’s plan – for example, a parent – your insurer may allow you to keep your healthcare information confidential. You may ask a medical provider and your insurance company whether there will be information regarding your health care sent to a parent’s address, and whether there is a way to have it sent to your own address instead. (An insurer is not required to accommodate these requests in Kentucky, but many insurers have such a process in place even if not required by law.)What kinds of documents and information should I protect? Important documents include your health insurance card, birth certificate or other proof of birth, and social security card or other proof of US citizenship or lawful alien status if you were not born in the United States. Keep these documents in a safe place, but do not carry them with you. You should also learn how to access your medical history and immunization records, keep a contact list of your doctors and dentist, and know the names and doses of any medication you take.