Simple, direct answers to common questions about health care privacy
Why is health care privacy important?
If you don't believe your health information is protected, you may be less likely to visit or talk to your doctors and other health care experts about health issues because you are afraid of who else may learn about your conditions. This may place you at greater risk: Your doctor needs to know as much as possible about your health to give you the best possible care.
Is my personal health information private?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) includes a privacy rule that require people who manage your health care keep your information private (other federal and state laws include privacy protections as well). Health care companies must follow the HIPAA privacy rule. So must health care providers. Examples of health care companies and health care providers include:
What sort of health information is considered private?
Here are some examples of protected information:
What are my rights with regard to my privacy?
You have the right to:
What are Aetna’s responsibilities with regard to my privacy?
We have the responsibility to:
I am an Aetna member. How do I exercise my privacy rights?
Call us at the number on your member ID card. Tell us what you need. For example, you may want to:
Do you get your health insurance where you work? If so, where you go for privacy information depends on the kind of plan you joined.
There are two kinds of health plans offered by employers. One kind of plan is called “insured” because an insurance company pays for claims. The other kind of plan is called “self-insured” because your employer actually pays for claims and hires another company only to run the systems that support the plan. If you are a member of a self-insured plan, you may need to work with your employer to address your privacy concerns.
To find out whether to address a privacy issue with your employer or with Aetna, call the number on your member ID card or talk to your company HR representative.
What can I do if I think my privacy rights have been violated?
Contact us if you think your rights are being denied or your health information isn’t being protected. Call the number on your member ID card. Or write to:
Aetna Privacy Office
151 Farmington Avenue, RC61
Hartford, CT 06156
You may also write to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. You will not be penalized for filing a complaint.