Notice of privacy practices
THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION.
PLEASE REVIEW IT CAREFULLY.
We, at Regence, know you value your privacy. That is why we are committed to the confidentiality and security of your personal information. We maintain physical, administrative and technical safeguards to protect against unauthorized access, use, or disclosure of your personal information.
We collect personal information, such as your name, contact information, and health information, from you, your health care providers, and other insurers that provide you coverage. We are required by law to maintain the privacy of this information and to explain our legal duties and privacy practices. We are also required by law to notify affected individuals following a breach of unsecured protected health information. We provide the protections and apply the practices described in this notice to all personal information that we maintain, including to personal information of former members who are no longer covered by us. We hope this notice will clarify our responsibilities to you and give you an understanding of your rights. We are required to abide by the notice that is currently in effect. This notice is in effect as of July 1, 2013.
You may exercise the following rights by calling our Customer Service department or writing our Privacy Official. See Contacting us at the end of this notice.
Inspection and copies
You have the right to request an inspection or copies of protected health information that we maintain about you in a "designated record set" except psychotherapy notes and information that we compiled in anticipation of, or for use in, a civil, criminal, or administrative proceeding. A "designated record set" is a group of records that is used to administer your health benefits, including enrollment information and claims. We may limit the information that you can inspect or copy if we have reason to believe that is necessary to protect you or another person from harm. If we limit your right to inspect or copy, you can ask for a review of that decision.
If you believe that protected health information we maintain about you in a designated record set is inaccurate or incomplete, you have the right to request an amendment to correct or complete the information. You must submit your request in writing and explain the reason for the amendment. If the amendment is made, we will make reasonable efforts to inform others, including people you identify, that the information has been amended and we will use our best efforts to include the amendment with any future disclosure. We may decline to amend information under certain circumstances. This is likely to occur if we did not create the original record. If we decline to amend the information, you have the right to submit a statement of disagreement. You should know that we are allowed to attach a rebuttal statement in response to your statement of disagreement.
You have the right to receive a paper copy of this notice upon request.
You have the right to request a list of certain disclosures of protected health information. The list will not include disclosures made for treatment, payment or health care operations. It also will not include disclosures made pursuant to an authorization, made more than six years before the date of the request, incidental disclosures, disclosures made for national security or intelligence, or disclosures made to a correctional facility. The list will include the date of any accountable disclosure, to whom that disclosure was made, a brief description of the information disclosed, and the purpose for that disclosure (provided this information is known to us). We will supply this list free of charge once a year at your request. If you request an accounting more than once in a 12-month period, we may charge a reasonable fee.
You have the right to request restrictions on our use or disclosure of protected health information in addition to the restrictions imposed by law. We are not required to agree to your request and we may be unable to do so. If we do agree, we will comply with your request except in the case of emergency. You also have the right to request that we communicate with you in confidence with respect to communications you believe may endanger you. We will make every effort to accommodate your request if it is reasonable and you provide an alternate means to communicate. You should know that redirecting communication may not prevent others on your policy from discovering that you sought medical care. Accumulated deductibles and co-payment information may reveal that you obtained services. In addition, historic claims reports may include services that were obtained during the time communications were redirected.
You have the right to submit a complaint if you believe we have violated your privacy rights. To submit a complaint, write to: Regence, Privacy Office, P.O. Box 1071, Mailstop E14A, Portland, OR 97207 or call our Customer Service department at the phone number provided at the end of this notice. You also have the right to submit a complaint to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Be assured that we will not retaliate against you for submitting a complaint.
Permitted uses and disclosures
To administer health benefits, we collect, use and disclose protected health information for a variety of purposes:
We may disclose protected health information to a health care provider in order for the provider to treat you. We may also use or disclose protected health information to support a provider's activities to furnish preventive health, early detection and case management programs.
We may use or disclose protected health information for payment purposes, including to adjudicate claims, issue Explanation of Benefits or coordinate benefits with other entities responsible for paying your claims.
Health care operations
We may use or disclose protected health information to facilitate operations, including underwriting, customer service, and detection or prevention of fraud or abuse. We may not, however, use or disclose genetic information for underwriting purposes.
Occasionally, we contract with business associates to perform insurance-related functions on our behalf. We may disclose protected health information to these business associates in order to allow them to perform these functions. They also may collect, use or disclose protected health information on our behalf. We contractually obligate our business associates and they are required by law to provide the same privacy protections that we provide.
Employers and other plan sponsors
If you are enrolled in an employer-sponsored group health plan (or a group health plan sponsored by another entity), we may disclose protected health information to the group health plan or plan sponsor to facilitate administration of the plan. For example, we supply enrollment lists to employers so that premiums can be paid appropriately.
As permitted or required by law
We use or disclose protected health information as permitted or required by law. For example, some laws permit or require us to disclose protected health information for workers' compensation programs or to certain government agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration.
Public health activities
We may disclose protected health information to: (a) public health agencies for the prevention and control of disease; (b) coroners or medical examiners as necessary for fulfillment of their duties; (c) agencies that engage in the procurement, banking, or transportation of organs or tissue to facilitate such donation and transplantation services; (d) researchers to conduct medical research or research intended to improve the health care system; and (e) third parties as necessary to avert a serious threat to the health or safety of a person.
We may disclose protected health information to health oversight agencies. These agencies are authorized by law to conduct audits; perform inspections and investigations; license health care providers, insurers and facilities; to enforce regulatory requirements; and to investigate healthcare fraud. These agencies include: State Commissioner of Insurance, State Board of Medicine, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the FBI.
We may disclose protected health information in the course of a judicial or administrative proceeding, and in response to a court order, subpoena, discovery request, or other lawful process.
We may disclose protected health information to law enforcement officials in response to an administrative subpoena, a warrant, or an administrative request intended to identify or locate a suspect, victim or witness. We also may disclose protected health information for the purpose of reporting a crime on our premises.
Military and national security
We may disclose protected health information to armed forces personnel for military activities and to authorized federal officials for national security and intelligence activities.
If you are an inmate, we may disclose protected health information to your correctional institution for treatment purposes or to ensure the safety of yourself and others.
We may disclose your protected health information to you at your request, to inform you about the status of your claims, or for other purposes. For example, we may use protected health information to provide information about treatment alternatives or other health-related benefits or services that may be of interest to you. This may include enhancements to your health plan and health-related products or services available only to health plan members that add value to, but are not a part of, your benefit plan.
Others involved in your health care
We may disclose protected health information to personal representatives such as appointed guardians, executors, conservators, and in many cases parents of minor children, as well as to attorneys in fact when a valid power of attorney exists. In addition, if you give us verbal permission or if your permission can be implied (for example, while you are unconscious during an emergency), we may disclose protected health information to family members or others who call on your behalf. This permission is valid only for a limited time. If you want to authorize on-going disclosures to family members or friends, you must submit written authorization.
You may give us written authorization to use protected health information or disclose protected health information about yourself to anyone for any purpose. An authorization remains valid for two years unless the authorization states otherwise or you revoke it. You may revoke an authorization at any time by submitting a written revocation (see Contacting us, below), but a revocation will not affect any use or disclosure permitted by the authorization while it was in effect. An authorization is required for us to use or disclose your protected health information for purposes other than those described in this notice. In particular, we need your written authorization to use or disclose psychotherapy notes, except in limited circumstances such as when the disclosure is required by law. We also must obtain your written authorization to sell information about you to a third party or when we receive financial compensation to use or disclose your protected health information to send you communications about products and services.
We reserve the right to change our privacy practices and this notice at any time without advance notice. Before we make any material change in our privacy practices, we will change this notice and post the new notice on our website. We will provide a copy of the new notice (or information about the changes to our privacy practices and how to obtain the new notice) in our next annual mailing to members who are then covered by one of our health plans. The new notice will apply to all protected health information in our possession, including any information created or received before the revised notice became effective.
You may reach us during regular business hours by calling our Customer Service department at a number below:
1 (888) 232-5763
1 (888) 675-6570
1 (888) 231-8424
Washington (all other counties)
1 (888) 344-6347
For more information about this notice or to file a written privacy-related complaint, you may write to: Privacy Official, P.O. Box 1071, MS E14A, Portland, OR 97207-1071.