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Privacy limitations with self insured companies
Feb 14, 2011

My partner who is poz works for a self ensured hospital and is extremely terrorized about his status getting out. He is limited to only receive his meds through the hospital's own pharmacy or pay out of pocket (1500$ a month). This makes him almost paralyzed with fear each time he had to go walk into the pharmacy and get his meds (one of our neighbors close by is a pharmacist) so I get them for him. The pharmacy medication labels have all of his information on the label such as name, address, phone number and such. My question is 2 parts, shouldnt he be allowed to get his meds anywhere but just pay a higher co-pay and where does his confidentiality rights end who has the right to know his medical history in the company. If they are self insured does management in HR roll over to operations and discuss their employees who are liabilities on coverage cost and so forth openly and at meetings? Where does the buck stop for his privacy.

Even with HIPPA rules/regs and privacy act there are still breaches and the more people that are privileged to know the more at risk ones privacy becomes. Please speak to the right an employee that is self ensured has and does he have the ability to seal his medical records and remove his name from his benefits to only a number?

Response from Ms. Franzoi

I understand your partner's concerns. I am sure it is very difficult to work for a hospital and get his meds and probably his health care from the hospital pharmacy and the physicians associated with the hospital. Unfortunately, an employer can design his plan the way your partner's self-insured plan is designed. He does have HIPAA protection. If he were to be impacted in his job based on his medical status, the hospital could be sued. I am sure they are very aware of this as there are probably many employees with health issues, including HIV, Hear disease, emphysema, etc. who are concerned about this. But it is legal to have this plan design.

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