Under the privacy rule of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), group health plans must remind participants every three years that a privacy rights notice is available on request. For small health plans (those with $5 million or less in annual receipts), the three-year anniversary date is April 14, 2007. The anniversary date for large plans was last year.
A plan can satisfy the reminder obligation by furnishing the reminder notice to just the “named insured”–that is, the subscriber for coverage that also applies to spouses and dependents. The reminder can be made by either: 1) mailing a new copy of the privacy notice itself; 2) mailing a reminder informing insureds that the privacy notice is available and how to obtain a copy; or 3) placing the privacy notice or reminder on how to obtain a copy in a plan-related newsletter or other publication. Keep in mind that electronic distribution of the reminder is permitted only if an insured has consented to receive electronic notices.
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