Access to insurance data

February 20, 2004

We needed to discuss a billing issue with one of our patients, and lab results with another. Unfortunately, our contact information was outdated, so we called their insurers for addresses and telephone numbers.We were rebuffed?the companies citing HIPAA privacy restrictions. Were the companies right?

Q: We needed to discuss a billing issue with one of our patients, and lab results with another. Unfortunately, our contact information was outdated, so we called their insurers for addresses and telephone numbers.We were rebuffed-the companies citing HIPAA privacy restrictions. Were the companies right?

A: No. Just as HIPAA permits you to share patient information with insurance companies for payment purposes, it permits those companies to share information with you in matters involving treatment, payment, and healthcare operations. Since your inquiry about the patients concerned payment and treatment, respectively, they should have given you the information