Inc.com | The Privacy Time Bomb: "The Privacy Time Bomb
You're sitting on a privacy time bomb. Here's how to defuse it.
From: Inc. Magazine, November 2003 | Page 34 By: Alison Stein Wellner
If you provide health insurance, you're sitting on a potential time bomb. That's because on April 14, 2004, tough new privacy regulations under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA, go into effect for small companies. You have six months to get in compliance or risk a hefty fine--or even jail time.
The new privacy laws are designed 'to prevent employers from using information received in connection with an employee benefit plan when making employment-related decisions, such as hiring, promoting, or firing,' says Michele Talka, of the McCart Group, a Duluth, Ga., insurance brokerage. To do so, the law erects a formidable privacy shield around your employees' personal health information. It would be a HIPAA violation, for example, for the person handling insurance claims at a small company to tell the CEO that an employee has cancer, even if it will likely affect the organization's insurance premiums.
How to comply?"