Say Goodbye to Medical Privacy Under ObamaCare

By:  Michael Tennant
06/17/2013
       
Say Goodbye to Medical Privacy Under ObamaCare

A proposed ObamaCare regulation would require insurance exchanges to share individuals' personal health information with a variety of state and federal agencies.

If you’re planning on buying health insurance on an ObamaCare exchange next year, be forewarned: Your personal health information (PHI) will be made available to a variety of government agencies, quite possibly including the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

According to the Washington Examiner, a proposed Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regulation “requires state, federal and local agencies as well as health insurers to swap the protected personal health information of anybody seeking” insurance on an exchange. “PHI includes an individual's medical history, test and laboratory results, insurance information and other data,” the paper explains.

Beginning in January, Americans not obtaining coverage via their employers will be required to purchase it on the individual market or pay a tax penalty. The exchanges — some run by the states, others by the federal government — are supposed to provide marketplaces for individuals to shop for the ObamaCare-compliant insurance that best suits their needs. Depending on their household income, individuals buying insurance on an exchange may be eligible for premium-assistance subsidies. They will also, under the new rule, find their medical history subject to bureaucrats’ — and possibly others’ — prying eyes.

If an individual applies for insurance on an exchange, says the rule, “the exchange would submit specific identifying information to HHS and HHS would verify applicant information with information from the federal and state agencies or programs that provide eligibility and enrollment information regarding minimum essential coverage.”

“HHS will work with the appropriate federal and state agencies to complete the appropriate computer matching agreements, data use agreements, and information exchange agreements which will comply with all appropriate federal privacy and security laws and regulations,” the rule adds. “The information obtained from federal and state agencies will be used and re-disclosed by HHS as part of the eligibility determination and information verification process.”

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