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Why did you send me a business associate addendum to my contract?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act requires all covered entities (such as Unum's insuring subsidiaries) to obtain written agreements from all business associates that relate to the business associate's uses and disclosures of protected health information.
What is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a 1996 federal law, the primary purpose of which is to help consumers maintain their insurance coverage. HIPAA also includes a section aimed at improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the health care system - called "administrative simplification." The Department of Health and Human Services recently finalized certain regulations for health plans, health care providers and health care clearinghouses to comply with the administrative simplification requirements of HIPAA. One of these regulations relates to the privacy of individually identifiable health information of individuals. Specifically, the regulation sets standards for uses and disclosures of protected health information of individuals. Health insurance issuers and certain insurance plans are considered "health plans" and must comply with the administrative simplification requirements of HIPAA.
What is a business associate?
A business associate is a person, including an entity, which performs certain functions or activities regulated by HIPAA "on behalf of" a health plan, health care provider, or health care clearinghouse.
When is the business associate addendum effective?
The business associate addendum is effective March 1, 2003. This line may be updated summer 2013
Am I required to sign the business associate addendum and return it to you?
No. You should carefully review and understand the obligations under the business associate addendum, but you are not required to sign it or to return it to us.
What is protected health information?
Protected health information is personally identifiable information about: (a) an individual's past, present or future physical or mental health or condition, or (b) the provision of health care to an individual, or (c) the past, present or future payment for the provision of health care to an individual.