Q. How does NYSHIP protect my personal medical information?

A. The New York State Health Insurance Program (NYSHIP) understands that medical information about you and your health is personal. We are committed to protecting medical information about you. We create a record of information about you to enroll you in the various NYSHIP health benefit programs. We need this record to provide you with quality services and to comply with certain legal requirements. The New York State Health Insurance Program (NYSHIP) Notice of Privacy Practices applies to all of the records of your enrollment and participation in NYSHIP maintained by DCS, whether generated by DCS personnel, by staff in your employer's personnel office, or by the NYSHIP insurance carriers and contractors.

Under the federal privacy regulations relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), health plans are required to protect the confidentiality of Protected Health Information (PHI). PHI is individually identifiable health information related to your physical and mental health or condition, health care services provided to you, or payments made for your care, which is created or received by a health plan, a health care clearinghouse, or a health care provider that electronically transmits such information. Details are outlined in the New York State Health Insurance Program (NYSHIP) Notice of Privacy Practices, effective beginning April 14, 2003.

Each of the insurers and Health Maintenance Organizations that participate in NYSHIP maintain their own Notice of Privacy Practices describing how they may use and disclose your personal medical information and are required to provide you with a copy of their Notice. Any questions or comments about the privacy practices of an insurer or HMO should be directed to the address provided on its Notice.