Effective date: December 1, 2011
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.
* In this Notice, “you” means the member and “we” means UCare.
Why are we telling you this?
UCare believes it is important to keep your health information private. In fact, the law requires us to do so. The law also requires us to tell you about our legal duties and privacy practices. We are required to follow the terms of the Notice currently in effect.
What do we mean by “information?”
In this Notice, when we talk about “information,” “medical information,” or “health information,” we mean information about you that we collect in our business of providing health coverage for you and your family. It is information that identifies you.
What kinds of information do we use?
We receive information about you as part of our work in providing health plan services and health coverage. This information includes your name, address, date of birth, gender, telephone numbers, family information, financial information, health records, or other health information. Examples of the kinds of information we collect include: information from enrollment applications, claims, provider information, and customer satisfaction or health surveys; information you give us when you call us about a question or when you file a complaint or appeal; information we need to answer your question or decide your appeal; and information you provide us to help us obtain payment for premiums.
What do we do with this information?
We use your information to provide health plan services to members and to operate our health plan. These routine uses involve coordination of care, preventive health, and case management programs. For example, we may use your information to talk with your doctor to coordinate a referral to a specialist.
We also use your information for coordination of benefits, enrollment and eligibility status, benefits management, utilization management, premium billing, claims issues, and coverage decisions. For example, we may use your information to pay your health care claims.
Other uses include customer service activities, complaints or appeals, health promotion, quality activities, health survey information, underwriting, actuarial studies, premium rating, legal and regulatory compliance, risk management, professional peer review, credentialing, accreditation, antifraud activities, as well as business planning and administration. For example, we may use your information to make a decision regarding an appeal filed by you.
In addition, we may use your information to provide you with appointment reminders, information about treatment alternatives, or other health-related benefits and services that may be of interest to you. We may also share information with family members or others you identify as involved with your care, or with the sponsor of a group health plan, as applicable.
Who sees your information?
UCare employees see your information only if necessary to do their jobs. We have procedures and systems to keep personal information secure from people who do not have a right to see it. We may share the information with providers and other companies or persons working with or for us. We have contracts with those companies or persons. In those contracts, we require that they agree to keep your information confidential. This includes our lawyers, accountants, auditors, third party administrators, insurance agents or brokers, information systems companies, marketing companies, disease management companies, or consultants.
We also may share your information as required or permitted by law. Information may be shared with government agencies and their contractors as part of regulatory reports, audits, encounter reports, mandatory reporting such as child abuse, neglect, or domestic violence; or in response to a court or administrative order, subpoena, or discovery request. We may share information with health oversight agencies for licensure, inspections, disciplinary actions, audits, investigations, government program eligibility, government program standards compliance, and for certain civil rights enforcement actions. We also may share information for research, for law enforcement purposes, with coroners to permit identification or determine cause of death, or with funeral directors to allow them to carry out their duties. We may be required to share information with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate our compliance efforts. There may be other situations when the law requires or permits us to share information.
Other uses and disclosures not described above will be made only with your written permission. We will also accept the permission of a person with authority to represent you (such as a guardian).
That permission may be cancelled at any time. However, the cancellation will not apply to uses or disclosures we made before we received your cancellation. Also, once we have permission to release your information, we cannot promise that the person who receives the information will not share it.
We do not sell or rent information to anyone. We treat information about former members with the same protection as current members.
What are your rights?
- You have the right to ask that we don’t use or share your information in a certain way. Please note that while we will try to honor your request, we are not required to agree to your request.
- You have the right to ask us to send information to you at an address you choose or to request that we communicate with you in a certain way. For example, you may request that your mailings be sent to a work address rather than your home address. We may ask that you make your request in writing.
- You have the right to look at or get a copy of certain information we have about you. This information includes records we use to make decisions about health coverage, such as payment, enrollment, case, or medical management records. We may ask you to make your request in writing. We may also ask you to provide information we need to answer your request. We have the right to charge a reasonable fee for the cost of making and mailing the copies. In some cases, we may deny your request to inspect or obtain a copy of your information. If we deny your request, we will tell you in writing. We may give you a right to have the decision reviewed. Please let us know if you have any questions about this.
- You have the right to ask us to correct or add missing information about you that we have in our records. Your request needs to be in writing. In some cases, we may deny a request if the information is correct and complete, if we did not create it, if we cannot share it, or if it is not part of our records. All denials will be in writing. You may file a written statement of disagreement with us. We have the right to disagree with that statement. Even if we deny your request to change or add to your information, you still have the right to have your written request, our written denial, and your statement of disagreement included with your information.
- You have the right to receive a listing of the times when we have shared your information in some cases. Please note that we are not required to provide you with a listing of information shared prior to April 14, 2003; information shared or used for treatment, payment, and health care operations purposes; information shared with you or someone else as a result of your permission; information that is shared as a result of an allowed use or disclosure; or information shared for national security or intelligence purposes. All requests for this list must be in writing. We will need you to provide us specific information so we can answer your request. If you request this list more than once in a 12-month period, we may charge you a reasonable fee. If you have questions about this, please contact us at the address provided on this page.
- You have the right to receive a copy of this Notice from us upon request. This Notice took effect December 1, 2011.
What else do you need to know?
If you have questions or want to file a complaint, you may contact our Privacy Officer at UCare, Attn: Privacy Officer, P.O. Box 52, Minneapolis, MN 55440-0052. You may also file a complaint with the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services at the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 233 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 240, Chicago, IL 60601. We will not retaliate against you for filing a complaint.