The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities



PHOENIX — Whether you access your health care through TRICARE or a private health insurance plan, you’ve probably had to sign a HIPAA form every time you filled out paperwork at your doctor’s office. Do you know why? What exactly is HIPAA, and what does it mean for you?

HIPAA is shorthand for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. HIPAA works for you by advocating four important things:

Simply put, HIPAA’s portability requirement means you can retain access to your health insurance while changing employers or leaving the workforce. This helps avoid lapses in coverage that could cost you benefits down the road.

According to a study by the Department of Medicine at Cambridge Hospital and Harvard Medical School, 31 percent of every healthcare dollar spent in the U.S. is spent on administrative costs. HIPAA aims to reduce those costs through “Administration Simplification.” Administration Simplification establishes national standards for electronic transmission of certain health information. If fully implemented, this would help control administrative costs while improving the quality and efficiency of your health care.

HIPAA also establishes very strict rules and regulations protecting your privacy as a patient. It regulates how and to whom your information can be disclosed to make sure your protected health information stays private. You will get a copy of your HIPAA privacy rights from your doctor as part of your routine paperwork.

Among other things, HIPAA gives patients rights regarding their health information. Thanks to HIPAA, you have the right to access, review and copy your protected health information, request changes to it, limit who can see it or what parts they can see, and more.

Want to know more about HIPAA, including how TriWest, the West Region TRICARE program administrator, protects your personal information? Visit and click “Privacy Policy” at the bottom of the page.


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