Is This Legal?
Jan 24, 2012
Is it legal for a company to REQUIRE its employees to disclose all their EXPENSIVE health issues that they are being treated for - "or risk being denied coverage" (paraphrased). Should employees simply not disclose and file a lawsuit AFTER they are denied coverage? If an employee discloses (directly to a broker) and that broker discloses to the company (but no confidentiality agreement was signed by the broker with regard to the employee), what recourse does an employee have? If the employee quickly found another job, but at less pay, can the employee sue for compensation (and win)? What good is HIPPA if this can go on?
Also, how much information can a broker give an employer about medicines and services purchased on their plan? Can the broker pass along the location (store) and time that meds were charged to a plan? If so, an employer could simply stake-out a retail store each month.
If an employee purchased his/her drugs during a lunch break, an employer could simply look-up the time records for their employees to see who left the building when the drugs were charged to the plan.
If a broker uses a "random code" to identify each employee in a group plan TO THE EMPLOYER, and the person with the "random code" is treated for an obvious (to employer) problem AND IS ALSO IDENTIFIED WITH THE SAME "RANDOM CODE" as having purchased (expensive) cART, wouldn't it be BOTH legal AND obvious to the employer who the HIV+ employee is?
Are these issues (laws) decided on a federal or state basis?
Response from Mr. Chambers
If the company is offering employer sponsored group health insurance, it certainly seems to be a blatant violation of HIPAA, since, under that law, you cannot be denied group health insurance because of your medical history or medical condition.
As far as the remedies available under HIPAA, you should contact a legal adviser or agency knowledgeable in HIPAA and ERISA.
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