NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES
THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION. PLEASE REVIEW IT CAREFULLY.
Our Privacy Promise
We understand the importance of handling your medical information with care. We are committed to protecting the privacy of your medical information. State and federal laws require us to make sure that your medical information is kept private. Federal law requires that we provide you with this Notice of Privacy Practices, which describes our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to your medical information and your legal rights with respect to our use and disclosure of your medical information. We are required by law to follow the terms of the Notice currently in effect. This Notice is effective September 23, 2013, and will remain in effect until it is changed or replaced.
We reserve the right to change our privacy practices and the terms of this notice at any time, as long as the law allows. These changes will be effective for all medical information that we keep, including medical information we created or received before we made the changes. When we make a material change to our privacy practices, we will provide a copy of a new notice (or information about the changes to our privacy practices and how to obtain a new notice) in a mailing to members who are covered under our health plans at that time.
Uses and Disclosures of Medical Information
Treatment, Payment, Health Care Operations
We may use and disclose your medical information for purposes of treatment, payment and health care operations.
Treatment: We may disclose your medical information to a physician or other health care professional to help him or her provide your treatment.
Payment: We may use or disclose your medical information for these and other activities related to payment:
- Paying claims from physicians, hospitals and other health care providers.
- Issuing explanations of benefits to the named insured.
- Providing information to health care professionals or other entities that are bound by the federal
Privacy Rules for their payment activities.
Health Care Operations: We may use or disclose your medical information in the normal course of conducting health care operations, including such activities as:
- Quality assessment and improvement activities.
- Reviewing the qualifications of health care professionals.
- Compliance and detection of fraud and abuse.
- Underwriting, enrollment and other activities related to creating, renewing or replacing a plan of benefits. We may not, however, use or disclose genetic information for underwriting purposes.
- Providing information to another entity bound by the federal Privacy Rules for its health care operations, in limited circumstances.
You and Your Family and Friends
We may use and disclose your medical information to communicate with you for purposes of customer service or to provide you with information you request. We may disclose your medical information to a family member, friend or other person to the extent necessary for him or her to assist with your health care or payment for your health care. Before we disclose your medical information to that person, we will give you a chance to object to us doing so. If you are not available, or if you are incapacitated or in an emergency situation, we may, in the exercise of our professional judgment, determine whether the disclosure would be in your best interest. We may also use or disclose your medical information to notify (or help notify, including identifying and locating) a family member, a personal representative or other person responsible for your care of your location, general condition or death.
Your Employer or Organization Sponsoring Your Group Health Plan
We may disclose summary information and enrollment information to your employer (or other plan sponsor). Summary information is a summary of the claims history, claims expenses or types of claims that members of your group health plan have filed. The summary information will not include demographic information about you or others in the group health plan, but your employer or plan sponsor may be able to identify individuals from the summary information provided.
We may use or disclose your medical information to a public or private entity authorized by law or by its charter to assist in disaster relief efforts.
We may use or disclose our members’ medical information as authorized by law for the following purposes that are in the public interest or benefit:
- For public health activities, including disease and vital statistics reporting, child abuse reporting, FDA oversight, and to employers regarding work-related illness or injury.
- To report adult abuse, neglect or domestic violence.
- To health oversight agencies.
- In response to court and administrative orders and other lawful processes.
- To law enforcement officials in response to subpoenas and other lawful processes concerning crime victims, suspicious deaths, crimes on our premises, reporting crimes in emergencies and to identify or locate a suspect or other person.
- To coroners, medical examiners and funeral directors.
- To organ procurement organizations.
- To avert a serious threat to health or safety.
- In connection with certain research activities.
- To the military and to federal officials for lawful intelligence, counterintelligence and national security activities.
- To correctional institutions regarding inmates.
- As authorized by state workers’ compensation laws.
We may not use or disclose your medical information without your written authorization, except as described in this notice. You may give us written authorization to use your medical information or to disclose it to anyone for any purpose. If you give us authorization, you may revoke it at any time by notifying us of your revocation in writing. Your revocation will not affect any use or disclosure permitted by the authorization while it was in effect. We need your written authorization to use or disclose psychotherapy notes, except in limited circumstances such as when a disclosure is required by law. We also must obtain your written authorization to sell your medical information to a third party or, in most circumstances, to send you communications about products and services. We do not need your written authorization, however, to send you communications about health-related products or services, as long as the products or services are associated with your coverage or are offered by us.
You have certain rights with respect to the medical information we maintain about you. To exercise any of these rights or to obtain more information about these rights (including any applicable fees), contact us using the information listed at the end of this notice.
You have the right to inspect or receive a paper or electronic copy of your medical information, with some exceptions. To inspect or receive your medical information, you must submit the request in writing. If you request to receive a copy of your records, we are allowed to charge a reasonable, cost-based fee.
You have the right to request, in writing, a record of instances in which we (or our business associates) disclosed your medical information for purposes other than treatment, payment, health care operations, and as allowed by law. We will provide you with a record of such disclosures for up to the previous six years. If you request a record of disclosures more than once in a 12-month period, we may charge you a reasonable, cost-based fee for each additional request.
You have the right to request, in writing, that we place additional restrictions on our use or disclosure of your medical information. By law, we are not required to agree to these additional restrictions, but if we do, we will abide by our agreement (except in an emergency). Any agreement to additional restrictions will be made in writing and signed by a person authorized to make such an agreement for us.
You have the right to request, in writing, that we communicate with you about your medical information by other means, or to another location. We are not required to agree to your request unless you state that you could be in danger if we do not communicate to you in confidence. In that case, we must accommodate your request if it is reasonable, if it specifies the other means or location, and if it permits us to continue to collect premiums and pay claims under your health plan. We will not be bound to your request unless our agreement is in writing.
Even if we agree to communicate with you in confidence, an explanation of benefits we issue to the named insured for health care services the named insured (or others covered by the health plan) received might contain sufficient information (such as deductible and out-of-pocket amounts) to reveal that you obtained health care services for which we paid.
You have the right to request, in writing, that we amend your medical information. Your request must explain why we should amend the information. We may deny your request if we did not create the information you want amended and the person or entity that did create it is available, or we may deny your request for certain other reasons. If we deny your request, we will send you a written explanation.
Notice of Breach
We are required to notify affected individuals following a breach of unsecured medical information.
You may request a written copy of this notice at any time or download it from our website.
Questions and Complaints
If you want more information about our privacy practices, or if you have questions or concerns, please contact us using the information below.
If you believe we may have violated your privacy rights, you may submit a complaint to us using the contact information listed below. You also may submit a written complaint to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. We will provide you with that address upon request.
We support your right to the privacy of your medical information. We will not retaliate in any way if you choose to file a complaint with us or with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Attn: Bruce Honeycutt, Privacy Officer
I 20 East @ Alpine Road (AX-E01)
Columbia, SC 29219
(803) 264-7258 (telephone)
(803) 264-7257 (fax)