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Research Paper

  1. 1. Nichelson 1Alyssa NichelsonBennett12th Lit/Comp16 September 2011 The Price of Privacy In 1996, one of the biggest medical laws was passed. The HIPAA law, otherwise knownas the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is a law to make sure that everyone’smedical records are kept in confidentiality between the doctor and patient (Campanelli). Evenbefore the law was passed, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) within the Health and HumanDepartment were working on getting a law to protect patient’s rights (Campanelli). Thelaw isalso used for efficiency for the healthcare system (Campanelli). HIPAA law has many points andexplanations; overall privacy and the different kinds, patients’ rights and responsibilities, privateinsurance plans, the “headache” of the law, and employee health insurance. First off the patients’ rights and responsibilities are a big part of the law. The patientshave responsibility to their medical records and not to be expected anymore rights than anyoneelse (Hopkins 9). HIPAA allows patient’s to have access to their own medical records when theychoose to ask for them (Hopkins 9). There is no discrimination to any patient, so no matter whatrace or color, they also have the right to their medical records as well. Also, the law says that nopatient is required in any medical studies if they choose not to partake in any (Hopkins 9). Mosthospitals have the same policies to their patient’s responsibilities like giving correct informationlike, name, address, date of birth, etc. Also giving their Social Security information and to makesure everything is good with their insurance carrier as well.
  2. 2. Nichelson 2 The HIPAA law defines the different types of privacy a patient has a right to regardingphysical privacy, informational privacy, and decisional privacy (Allen 2120). The definition ofprivacy basically means being left alone. Physical privacy is defined as a solitude conductivepeace of mind and intimacy (Allen 2120). There are different types of searches that criminalofficers rely on; body cavity searches prison-cell searches, and electric monitoring ofprobationers (Allen 2120). Physical privacy is inconsistent with the demands of modernhealthcare (Allen 2120). The patients who are willing to get involved in the touchiness arerisking having better health (Allen 2120). Another type of privacy is informational. This type ofprivacy is required limits on the accessibility of personal information (Allen 2121). The purposeof this type of privacy is based on mostly he doctor and patient and their medical information(Allen 2121). It also states that between this privacy that the patient is allowed to talk aboutgenetic ties and health disabilities with their physician (Allen 2121). This is a very importanttype of privacy that mostly all doctors follow as well as the patient. Decisional privacy concernsindividuals, families, domestic partners and are typically can make decisions based on personalconduct (Allen 2123). It also means that a patient can make his or her own decisions based ontheir self without the consent of anyone in a particular matter and can only act on that decision ifhe or she chooses to. (Allen 2123). This type of privacy deals with different conflicts. Some havedisagreements between the “right to decide” and the “right to choose” (Allen 2123). But theHIPAA law does state that the patient has the right to do whatever he or she would like to do andit should be respected by all medical professions even if they disagree with the patient. Another part of the HIPAA law, is that people have a right to private insurance plans. Thedefinition of a private insurance plan includes all forms of health insurance that are not fundedby the government (Fallon 1203). Most private insurance plans can be organized by an
  3. 3. Nichelson 3individual or a group basis (Fallon 1203). There are several types of health insurances in theUnited States; Indemnity Plans, Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) Plans, HealthMaintenance Organization (HMO) Plans, Long-term Care (LTC) Insurance, and MedigapInsurance Plans (Fallon 1204). The indemnity plan is a plan that allows beneficiaries to chooseany physician or hospital when they need medical help (Fallon 1204). Most of these plans havean amount that the policyholder has to pay before it covers any cost (Fallon 1204). After all ofthe deductibles have been paid the plan pays a co-insurance and then the provider pay the rest ofthe fee (Fallon 1204). The PPO plan is like an Indemnity plan but it offers a list of physiciansand hospitals that the patient has to choose which most beneficiaries to him or her and to receivethe plan’s maximum benefit (Fallon 1204). Most of the plans tend to be less expensive than theindemnity plan and to get more people in this type if insurance policy (Fallon 1204). The HMOor Health Maintenance Organization plan has a small co-pay and costs $5 to $10 per visit and theinsurance plan covers the rest (Fallon 1204). In most cases the patient chooses a physician whotakes care of all health needs. Long-term Care, (LTC) is the type of insurance plan is intended tocover the cost of custodial or nursing home care (Fallon 1204). This plan of insurance is the mostexpensive and most people should not get this type of plan. The Medicare plan does not offercomplete insurance protection but Medigap is insurance that is intended to supplement theMedicare coverage (Fallon 1204). 10 benefit packages are included in this plan going from A toJ and are available in most states and the District of Columbia (Fallon 1204). Medigap policiespay most or all of the co-insurance amounts charged my Medicare and Medigap policies coverMedicare deductibles. One of the downsides to the law is that there is always a “headache” about it. Most of theproblem is whether or not the patient’s medical information is protected most of the time (Hall).
  4. 4. Nichelson 4The whole idea of the law was to make it simple, but has made it the most difficulty allphysicians face (Hall). Also most argue that it is not accountable that of course, providers can tellthe patient all their rights but does not forbid disclosures without patient consent (Hoffman).Another argument is that most of the medical information on patients is electronicallymaintained and lacks specificity and does not provide much guidance (Hoffman.) Many thinkthat the law should be practiced more throughout the United States and physicians and patientsshould obey more by the law then just say that they are going along with it (Hoffman). Othersargue that whatever the patient wants, is what how it should be and he or she should get a saywhether they want medical attention or not (Hall). In this part of the law, most people get uneasyand worry whether or not their medical records are actually being kept private and not sharedwith other than his or her physician and not with other doctors unless they ask permission underany circumstances. The employee health insurance transaction can be difficult if not taken care properly.Prior to World War II very few American companies provided their employees with healthinsurance (Wilson 422). There were not enough workers back then because of the war so notmany people got the insurance that they needed so it got difficult with the economy (Wilson422). There was also taxation that if an employee that had health insurance did not have to payhealth benefits with their company (Wilson 423). There are 5 types of coverage people can have:Health insurance provided by an employer, individual insurance policies purchased in the privatemarket, Medicaid, Medicare and military or veteran’s insurance (Wilson 424). The most peoplewith the higher rate of insurance with are ages 65 and up because they are illegible for Medicaid(Wilson 424). Different types of insurances vary between the different ages, which unlikeyounger and elderly people do not qualify for the employer- based insurance. HIPAA is a helpful
  5. 5. Nichelson 5source to anyone who switches jobs and those have employer health insurance and can switchwith ease with purchased health care (Wilson 245). HIPAA gives the elderly people to havebetter health insurance for when they decide to retire (Wilson 425). The HIPAA law was passed in 1996 and contained many different points in the law itself;the diverse kinds of privacy, the patient’s rights and responsibilities, many types of privateinsurance plans, the “headache” of the law and employee health insurance. The law is to makesure that every patient’s medical records are just kept between the patient and physician. Peoplehave to follow the different types of privacy that there is between health and other types. Themost important thing is to listen to the patient at all times and let them make their own decisions.Many choose to take a private insurance plan that is not funded by the government or withoutthem knowing about it. There are many problems within the law, but that is why most peoplemust obey it. Insurance go up once they get older and want to retire but with the HIPAA law canhelp them out. The HIPAA law is a good law because it is all about privacy and people and whatwould everything be like without privacy?