HHS: PSs Can Access Employee Health Data Despite HIPAA

August 23, 2005 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Employers submitting data to Medicare officials as part of the application for the new Medicare Part D retiree drug subsidy may get their workers' protected health information, the government said Monday.

According to the answer of the newest question and answer posted by the Office of Civil Rights of the US Department of Health and Human Services, plan sponsors can amend their plan documents to allow the plan to receive the protected health information (PHI) from the group health plan or insurer for plan administration functions. This would include the plan’s application for the new Medicare Part D retiree drug subsidy (See  Majority of Plan Sponsors to Seek Medicare Drug Subsidy ).

Doing so would not run afoul of the new medical privacy rules in the HealthInsurancePortabilityandAccountabilityAct (HIPAA), the government officials said.

However, this disclosure, like other plan administration disclosures, must be limited to the minimum PHI necessary, government officials cautioned.

The latest posting is  here .