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American Health Benefits / Ehealthinsurance.com Complaint - Does HIPPA not protect my online submission to a specific company?

Review by pissed1 on 2009-03-11
EASTON, MARYLAND -- This morning I went online to google and searched for health insurance I clicked on ehealthinsurance.com and looked at several plans and rates. after finding 1 suitable through Carefirst I entered all my personal info like my meds and health records and personal stuff that is supposed to be protected under a HIPPA. Within 20 min of my submission I get a call from American Health benefits telling me based on the info you submitted you meet all our criteria. I was pissed. I did not submit anything to them. When I called back a very rude man answered and said when you put something online it becomes public record. first of all I thought I was filling out (what should have been a secure website questionnaire) but apparently not.

I want to know if this is legal as now I am being inundated with insurance spam. Absolutely ridiculous!!
Comments:4 Replies - Latest reply on 2009-03-11
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-03-11:
"first of all I thought I was filling out (what should have been a secure website questionnaire) but apparently not."
That pretty well explains it. But, go back to the site and see if the questionnaire is secure. Also, go back and try to find a privacy statement. Odds are, you won't. Health and Human Services has strict guidelines as to what constitutes protected information and who must comply with them. You entered protected information, but may have waived your right to privacy by using the site. Hope you didn't enter your SSN and DOB!!
Posted by Suusan B. on 2009-03-11:
HIPAA has two parts: First, it deals with continuous coverage for pre-existing conditions when there is not a significant break in coverage. Second, it prohibits the disclosure of information by insurance carriers and medical care professionals. You went on a public website that is in the business of selling health insurance and voluntarily entered your personal health informtion for the purpose of obtaining a price quote for health insurance. So I don't think that HIPAA privacy laws apply in your case.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-03-11:
Absolutely correct, Suusan. HIPPA does not protect against voluntary disclosure. A lot of people mistakenly think it is an absolute protection and will enter personal data into these marketing sites without ensuring that they are secure.
Posted by Disaster Worker on 2009-03-11:
Excellent information Doc and Suusan! I thought I knew a lot about HIPPA, but didn't know this. Thank you.

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