Should I Buy Coverage for HIPAA?

The final rule has been issued on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This federal law broadly covers the privacy and security of personally identifiable health information as well as the government’s ability to enforce these rules and request reports on information breaches. The final rule is intended to enhance these privacy protections and provide them with new rights to their health information.

Personal Information

The final rule in HIPAA goes a long way in protecting individuals’ right to access their personal health information and have it protected. Under the Final Rule, individuals’ rights to receive electronic copies of their health information are expanded. The final rule also goes against a 2009 proposal and prohibits most health plans from using or disclosing genetic information for underwriting purposes. Individuals are also reassured by the fact the fact that the government’s abilities to enforce these laws are enhanced in this modification of the law.

There are also changes to authorization requirements that may be needed to gather information on cases such as child immunization proof for schools and enabling access to decedent information by family members or others.

Covered Entities

The final rule in HIPAA has modified the applications of the act to make business associates of covered entities directly liable for compliance with certain Privacy and Security requirements. As well as this it requires modification and redistribution of a covered entity’s notice of privacy practices. There are also limitations imposed on the use and disclosure of protected health information for marketing purposes and prohibits the sale of this information without individual authorization.

Do I Need to Buy Liability Protection for HIPAA Claims?

From a liability perspective, it’s going to depend on the policy itself and the allegations that are made. Some directors & officers, employment practices, and fiduciary liability policies may provide coverage for certain violations of HIPAA. Some may have exclusions specifically related to HIPAA violations. Bottom line, coverage for HIPAA violations may be available, but the key lies in what allegations are made in a claim.

This final rule has done a lot to ensure the security of protected health information while also enhancing the access for the individuals involved. Covered entities are also pushed to be more responsible and hold more accountability for the delicate information in their possession. The HIPAA Final Rule heralds many changes for both the insured individual and their provider.

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