Hipaa And Employer Benefit Plans

Written by Dina Kayed
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Any employer-sponsored healthcare plan will be covered by the protective legislation of HIPAA. This includes heath, dental, vision, prescription drug insurance, and even Medicare and Medicaid. The only exceptions are for group health plans that are established and maintained by the employer, and that also cover less than 50 people.

Can Your Employer View Your Healthcare Records?

An employee's health records are in, essence, unavailable to an employer. An employer cannot, for example, call your primary care physician and ask to see the results of your latest physical. This would violate your privacy as laid out by HIPAA. There are exceptions, of course, but this sort of privacy is what HIPAA attempts to guarantee.

If you want your employer to have access to any part of your healthcare records, you can authorize that disclosure in writing. Whenever you take a drug screening test for a new employer, you'll need to sign a release that authorizes your potential employer to view your results. Without that disclosure, the individual or committee responsible for hiring you will be unable to view those results.

HIPAA coverage is also applicable to your healthcare records with regard to psychotherapy. Mental health records are treated with as much importance as your records of physical health. Authorizations of disclosure may be made here as well. As with any healthcare-related disclosure, you, the patient, must authorize in writing the specific information you want disclosed, to whom it can be disclosed, as well as a date on which this availability ends, and the ability to revoke that permission if you wish.

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