THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION.
PLEASE REVIEW IT CAREFULLY.
Dear Lake Norman Benefits, Inc Customer:
This notice describes how we protect the personal health information we have about you which relates to your insurance coverage (“Personal Health Information”), and how we may use and disclose this information. Personal Health Information includes individually identifiable information which relates to your past, present or future health, treatment or payment for health care services. This notice also describes your rights with respect to the Personal Health Information and how you can exercise those rights.
We are required by law to:
- maintain the privacy of your Personal Health Information;
- provide you this notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to your Personal Health Information; and
- follow the terms of this notice.
We protect your Personal Health Information from inappropriate use or disclosure.
Our employees, and those of companies that help us service your Insurance, are required to comply with our requirements that protect the confidentiality of Personal Health Information. They may look at your Personal Health Information only when there is an appropriate reason to do so, such as to administer our products or services.
We will not disclose your Personal Health Information to any other company for their use in marketing their products to you.
However, as described below, we will use and disclose Personal Health Information about you for business purposes relating to your Insurance coverage.
The main reasons for which we may use and may disclose your Personal Health Information are to evaluate and process any requests for coverage and claims for benefits you may make or in connection with other health-related benefits or services that may be of interest to you. The following describe these and other uses and disclosures, together with some examples.
- For Payment: We may use and disclose Personal Health Information to pay for benefits under your Insurance coverage. For example, we may review Personal Health Information contained on claims to reimburse providers for services rendered. We may also disclose Personal Health Information to other insurance carriers to coordinate benefits with respect to a particular claim. Additionally, we may disclose Personal Health Information to a health plan or an administrator of an employee welfare benefit plan for various payment-related functions, such as eligibility determination, audit and review or to assist you with your inquiries or disputes.
- For Health Care Operations: We may also use and disclose Personal Health Information for our insurance operations. These purposes include evaluating a request for Health Insurance products or services, administering those products or services, and processing transactions requested by you. We may also disclose Personal Health Information to Affiliates, and to business associates outside of the MetLife family of companies, if they need to receive Personal Health Information to provide a service to us and will agree to abide by specific HIPAA rules relating to the protection of Personal Health Information. Examples of business associates are: billing companies, data processing companies, or companies that provide general administrative services. Personal Health Information may be disclosed to reinsurers for underwriting, audit or claim review reasons. Personal Health Information may also be disclosed as part of a potential merger or acquisition involving our business in order to make an informed business decision regarding any such prospective transaction.
- Where Required by Law or for Public Health Activities: We disclose Personal Health Information when required by federal, state or local law. Examples of such mandatory disclosures include notifying state or local health authorities regarding particular communicable diseases, or providing Personal Health Information to a governmental agency or regulator with health care oversight responsibilities. We may also release Personal Health Information to a coroner or medical examiner to assist in identifying a deceased individual or to determine the cause of death.
- To Avert a Serious Threat to Health or Safety: We may disclose Personal Health Information to avert a serious threat to someone’s health or safety. We may also disclose Personal Health Information to federal, state or local agencies engaged in disaster relief as well as to private disaster relief or disaster assistance agencies to allow such entities to carry out their responsibilities in specific disaster situations.
- For Health-Related Benefits or Services: We may use Personal Health Information to provide you with information about benefits available to you under your current coverage or policy and, in limited situations, about health-related products or services that may be of interest to you.
- For Law Enforcement or Specific Government Functions: We may disclose Personal Health Information in response to a request by a law enforcement official made through a court order, subpoena, warrant, summons or similar process. We may disclose Personal Health Information about you to federal officials for intelligence, counterintelligence, and other national security activities authorized by law.
- When Requested as Part of a Regulatory or Legal Proceeding: If you or your estate are involved in a lawsuit or a dispute, we may disclose Personal Health Information about you in response to a court or administrative order. We may also disclose Personal Health Information about you in response to a subpoena, discovery request, or other lawful process by someone else involved in the dispute, but only if efforts have been made to tell you about the request or to obtain an order protecting the Personal Health Information requested. We may disclose Personal Health Information to any governmental agency or regulator with whom you have filed a complaint or as part of a regulatory agency examination.
- Other Uses of Personal Health Information: Other uses and disclosures of Personal Health Information not covered by this notice and permitted by the laws that apply to us will be made only with your written authorization or that of your legal representative. If we are authorized to use or disclose Personal Health Information about you, you or your legally authorized representative may revoke that authorization, in writing, at any time, except to the extent that we have taken action relying on the authorization or if the authorization was obtained as a condition of obtaining your Health Insurance coverage. You should understand that we will not be able to take back any disclosures we have already made with authorization.
Your Rights Regarding Personal Health Information We Maintain About You
- The following are your various rights as a consumer under HIPAA concerning your Personal Health Information.
Right to Inspect and Copy Your Personal Health Information:
In most cases, you have the right to inspect and obtain a copy of the Personal Health Information that we maintain about you. To inspect and copy Personal Health Information, you must submit your request in writing to the applicable administrator listed above. To receive a copy of your Personal Health Information, you may be charged a fee for the costs of copying, mailing or other supplies associated with your request. However, certain types of Personal Health Information will not be made available for inspection and copying. This includes psychotherapy notes; and also includes Personal Health Information collected by us in connection with, or in reasonable anticipation of any claim or legal proceeding. In very limited circumstances we may deny your request to inspect and obtain a copy of your Personal Health Information. If we do, you may request that the denial be reviewed. The review will be conducted by an individual chosen by us who was not involved in the original decision to deny your request. We will comply with the outcome of that review.
- Right to Amend Your Personal Health Information: If you believe that your Personal Health Information is incorrect or that an important part of it is missing, you have the right to ask us to amend your Personal Health Information while it is kept by or for us. You must provide your request and your reason for the request in writing, and submit it to the applicable administrator listed above. We may deny your request if it is not in writing or does not include a reason that supports the request. In addition, we may deny your request if you ask us to amend Personal Health Information that:
- is accurate and complete;
- was not created by us, unless the person or entity that created the Personal Health Information is no longer available to make the amendment;
- is not part of the Personal Health Information kept by or for us; or
- is not part of the Personal Health Information which you would be permitted to inspect and copy.
- Right to a List of Disclosures: You have the right to request a list of the disclosures we have made of Personal Health Information about you. This list will not include disclosures made for treatment, payment, health care operations, for purposes of national security, made to law enforcement or to corrections personnel or made pursuant to your authorization or made directly to you. To request this list, you must submit your request in writing to the applicable administrator listed above. Your request must state the time period from which you want to receive a list of disclosures. The time period may not be longer than six years and may not include dates before February 26, 2003. Your request should indicate in what form you want the list (for example, on paper or electronically). The first list you request within a 12-month period will be free. We may charge you for responding to any additional requests. We will notify you of the cost involved and you may choose to withdraw or modify your request at that time before any costs are incurred.
- Right to Request Restrictions: You have the right to request a restriction or limitation on Personal Health Information we use or disclose about you for treatment, payment or health care operations, or that we disclose to someone who may be involved in your care or payment for your care, like a family member or friend. While we will consider your request, we are not required to agree to it. If we do agree to it, we will comply with your request. To request a restriction, you must make your request in writing to the applicable administrator listed above. In your request, you must tell us (1) what information you want to limit; (2) whether you want to limit our use, disclosure or both; and (3) to whom you want the limits to apply (for example, disclosures to your spouse or parent). We will not agree to restrictions on Personal Health Information uses or disclosures that are legally required, or which are necessary to administer our business.
- Right to Request Confidential Communications: You have the right to request that we communicate with you about Personal Health Information in a certain way or at a certain location if you tell us that communication in another manner may endanger you. For example, you can ask that we only contact you at work or by mail. To request confidential communications, you must make your request in writing to the applicable administrator listed above and specify how or where you wish to be contacted. We will accommodate all reasonable requests.
- Right to File a Complaint: If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with us or with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. To file a complaint with us, please contact MetLife, Institutional Business HIPAA Privacy Office, P.O. Box 6896 Bridgewater, NJ 08807-6896. All complaints must be submitted in writing. You will not be penalized for filing a complaint.If you have questions as to how to file a complaint please contact us at 1-877-MY-LNB-01 or at HIPAA@lakenormanbenefits.com.
Changes to This Notice: We reserve the right to change the terms of this notice at any time. We reserve the right to make the revised or changed notice effective for Personal Health Information we already have about you as well as any Personal Health Information we receive in the future. The effective date of this notice and any revised or changed notice may be found on the last page, on the bottom right hand corner of the notice. You will receive a copy of any revised notice from MetLife by mail or by e-mail, but only if e-mail delivery is offered by MetLife and you agree to such delivery.
How We Learn About You
What we know about you we get mostly from you. But we may also have to find out more about you from other sources in order to make sure that what we know about you is correct and complete. Those sources may include your adult relatives, employers, consumer reporting agencies, health care providers and others. Some of our sources may give us reports, and they may disclose what they know about you to others.
How We Protect What We Know About You
We treat what we know about you confidentially. Our employees are told to take care in handling your information. They may get information about you only when there is a good reason to do so. We take steps to make our computer databases secure and to safeguard the information we have about you.
How We Use and Disclose What We Know About You
We may use anything we know about you to help us serve you better. We may use it, and disclose it to our affiliates and others, for any purpose allowed by law. For instance, we may use your information, and disclose it to others, in order to:
Other reasons we may disclose what we know about you include:
- Doing what a court or government agency requires us to do; for example, complying with a search warrant or subpoena
- Telling another company what we know about you, if we are or may be selling all or any part of our business or merging with another company
- Giving information to the government so that it can decide whether you may get benefits that it will have to pay for
- Telling your health care provider about a medical problem that you have but may not be aware of
- Giving your information to a peer review organization if you have health insurance with us
- Giving your information to someone who has a legal interest in your insurance, such as someone who lent you money and holds a lien on your policy
Generally, we will disclose only the information we consider reasonably necessary to disclose.
We may use what we know about you in order to offer you our other products and services. We may disclose this information (other than consumer reports and health information) to our affiliates so that they can offer their products and services, or ours, to you. Our affiliates include life, car and home insurers, securities firms, broker-dealers, a bank, a legal plans company and financial advisors. In the future, we may have affiliates in other businesses.
We may also provide information to others outside of the Lake Norman Benefits, Inc companies, such as marketing companies, to help us offer our products and services to you. If we have joint marketing agreements with other financial services companies, we may give them information about you so that they can offer their products and services to you; however, we cannot do this if the state law that applies to you does not allow it. Except for joint marketing arrangements, we do not make any other disclosures of your information to other companies who want to sell their products or services to you. For example, we will not sell your name to a catalog company. And we will not disclose any consumer report or health information to other companies so that they can offer their products and services, or ours, to you.
How You Can See and Correct Your Information
Generally, we will let you review what we know about you if you ask us in writing. (Because of its legal sensitivity, we will not show you anything that we learned in connection with a claim or lawsuit.) If you tell us that what we know about you is incorrect, we will review it. If we agree with you, we will correct our records. If we do not agree with you, you may tell us in writing, and we will include your statement when we give your information to anyone outside Lake Norman Benefits, Inc.
How You Can Get Other Material From Us
You Many Have Additional Rights Under Other Privacy Laws