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Personal health information required for third party?

I work for a small nonprofit, which has never been able to get healthcare benefits for employees. The director is now looking into it. All FTE employees (two, soon to be three) have just been given a form we're required to fill out completely to be mailed to a person whose title is "consultant" at an insurance brokerage firm (not an insurance company) that doesn't list their employees on their website. The form requests confidential information usually provided only to a doctor or other healthcare professional. We are to fill out and mail this information regardless of whether we will take advantage of the plan or not, AND regardless of even whether the director and board decide to purchase health insurance for employees! I don't feel comfortable **at all** providing my sensitive health information to a total stranger at a company I don't know and who is not even a representative of an insurance company. I didn't request this benefit, and I won't use it as my wife's insurance is very good. The director has told us that we must provide accurate information in order for the rates to be calculated. I don't want to make waves, and I'm sure everyone has the best of intentions, but my health information is none of this brokerage firm's business and I don't want to provide it. I need to mail this form by March 30. Can anyone give me some feedback about what you would do, or what my rights might be? I don't want to cause trouble for the organization, but I really feel this is a mandatory invasion of my privacy. Thanks for your help.

Submitted by: Patrick McKenna

 

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You did not say what HR's response was. Do you know if they talked with him? Also, have you gone to his boss to discuss the situation? If not, I would do that and see what happens or if his boss can give you some good advice. Anonymous on 5/18/2012 12:35:32 PM
This is most disconcerting at best, however it is not uncommon to use an Insurance Broker to “shop” for the best health insurance company to meet the needs of the company. With large companies who have already had a health plan in place, usage data is already available (without names, etc.) through claims processed which can guide the broker as to what type coverage is needed, how often it is used, and how to calculate the premiums. Without that information I do not know how an insurance company calculates their premiums. I am always hesitant to provide personal information to any company that really does not need it. Anonymous on 3/28/2012 1:24:18 PM
Where is the NPO's legal counsel on this? This is clearly an example of a desperate or incompetent HR management throwing stuff on the wall to see what sticks. First they go after the Facebook passwords and now they want your medical history? You will get spammed by the brokerage regardless of the NPO's decisions. If your information goes public and is used against you somehow in the future (declined coverage, etc.), the NPO can be culpable and open to a lawsuit. If it has the money to defend itself, it has the money to research health care plans properly. NPO's are organized and have their own association. Why isn't yours seeking advice from it? I'm sure your agency is not the only one looking for health care plans. Good luck. Anonymous on 3/27/2012 9:19:37 AM
Take a look at the form. Is the HIPPA Privacy Rule on it? If not, you have valid grounds for refusing to complete it. The HIPAA Privacy Rule provides federal protections for personal health information held by covered entities and gives patients an array of rights with respect to that information. If the Privacy Rule is on the form, they are required to protect that information Annabel Carney on 3/27/2012 9:17:13 AM
Personally, if I felt that strongly about it (and it does sound a little suspicious), I would not fill out the form. But remember, going this route, might have some type of consequences and you should find out what they might be. Good luck. Charlita Wright on 3/27/2012 8:52:13 AM
Thank you so much for your help. I appreciate the link and HIPAA info, and will definitely familiarize myself with it. I've gone over the form carefully and I am going to take advantage of the form's wording ("Please answer the following questions concerning yourself and any of your dependents who will be covered by this plan") and interpret it to mean that, because neither I nor any member of my family will be covered by the plan, I don't have to answer any of the questions. My employer will be satisfied that I returned the form to the broker, and I've been assured my organization won't be privy to my information. This has been a pretty uncomfortable situation. I feel better knowing that others agree that my privacy concerns are valid. Patrick McKenna on 3/27/2012 8:49:14 AM
It sounds like they are just trying to find you the best deal possible. I know now days if you go and get insurance on your own through an agent or an online agent you have to do this. It’s like back in the day when they use to come to your house to do a blood test and urine test (which they still can do). Yes it does stink that you have to give your information but it sounds like that’s what they are doing. You know the “do you smoke” question because your rates are different if you do or don’t. We’ve had our own insurance a couple times in the past 5 years and had to do this. I would still look into it to like the other person suggested on here. Good Luck! Annoymous on 3/27/2012 8:38:28 AM
I view this as an invasion of privacy. You can look up the HIPAA laws online. Did you voice your concerns to your supervisor? Do you have to put your name on the form? We are seeking bids from new insurance companies for our health insurance in our company, and have never been asked to provide personal information. Strange! Alice on 3/27/2012 8:29:08 AM
http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/ US Department of Health & Human Services has information about privacy rights. Robin Aylor on 3/27/2012 8:25:06 AM
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