One of the least understood aspects of HIPAA for employers is how it relates to employee privacy and their healthcare benefits. Understanding this is imperative to staying clear of running into issues.
Employers are considered a health plan if the employer pays a part of the medical care cost. Hence, if you pay a chunk of an employee’s health plan or have an insurance plan that’s self-funded, you are an employer that must comply with HIPAA privacy rules. These rules outline how a health plan or covered health care providers disclose protected health information to an employer, including individuals such as managers.
Per HIPAA rules, employees must provide initial authorization to health care providers prior to disclosing any health care related information to their employer. This explains why employees are required to complete Family Medical Leave Forms authorizing health care information release before FMLA leave is granted.
Employers have several requirements they must follow to protect the health information of employees. This includes protecting Flexible Spending Account and wellness program information as well as Occupational Health Records. As with any personally identifiable medical records, these must be kept in a secure location.
To read more, visit http://www.sbnonline.com/article/hipaa-laws-what-employers-dont-know-can-hurt-them/.
This update is by Medical Accounts Systems, a full-service healthcare revenue cycle management company providing a number of services including insurance follow up and managed care disputes, physician reimbursement, extended business office services, and more. For additional information on our services or for any questions you may have on topics such as medical bill debt collection, please call 877-759-6315.