#1  
Unread 07-19-2006, 03:16 AM
janieb
 
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Default Health Insurance applications

Hi to all!
I need some input on your filing system.
When we hire an employee, they complete a new hire packet of course, personal data, tax forms, application for health insurance, etc.....

We then file all of this into their personel file, including their application in which they complete for their health insurance,dental,life insurance, etc....

My question is...should their health insurance packet be filed separately or is it okay to file in with their personel records?
I would appreciate any responses on this and how all of you file your forms...
Thanks very much!!!!
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  #2  
Unread 07-19-2006, 07:46 AM
Irie
 
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Default RE: Health Insurance applications

I would not file any information that pertains to an employee's health in their employee file. Keep this documentation in a locked separate file with limited access. Even though it may not have sensitive information on the health insurance application it should still be kept separate.
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  #3  
Unread 07-19-2006, 08:23 AM
Leo
 
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Default RE: Health Insurance applications

Absolutely keep medical forms and info in a separate file.
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  #4  
Unread 07-19-2006, 10:11 AM
NaeNae55
 
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Default RE: Health Insurance applications

We don't put any benefit information in the employee's personnel file. In fact, that information isn't even kept in the same file cabinet.

Imagine this scene: Employee applies for a promotion. Supervisor asks to see employee's file, along with another employee who is also applying. Supervisor selects 2nd employee. 1st employee carries family insurance and one of the dependents has a serious health condition. 2nd employee has other insurance so doesn't use this benefit. Uh-oh! Lawsuit! 1st employee can claim they were turned down because of thier dependent's serious health condition. EEOC (or some such place) comes in and makes your life miserable by requiring you to give them tons of information (not to mention legal costs, etc). Solution: don't go there in the first place. Keep them separate.

Good luck!

Nae
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  #5  
Unread 07-19-2006, 03:59 PM
HRCalico
 
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Default RE: Health Insurance applications

I deviate from the others a little bit. Our insurance forms contain ZERO health information. Only DOB, SSN - which we have in other places. The only other thing it has is dependent information and their DOBs and SSNs. I have a hard time believing that would be a problem.

Also, I use a four-part file for each employee. One section contains training information, so if my records are audited by a customer or outside agency, they flip through only that section. Second section is app, interview notes, orientation forms, 401 (k). Third section is the aforementioned insurance enrollments (with NO health info). Fourth section is performance evaluations and discipline.

In a completely separate cabinet, I keep work comp, FMLA, and disability information; and in a separate folder (same cabinet), I keep any financial info - garnishments, wage verifications, etc.
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  #6  
Unread 07-20-2006, 12:42 AM
janieb
 
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Default RE: Health Insurance applications

I really appreciate all the responses I am getting in reference to the Health insurance apps.
My filing system is very similar to yours and also there is not any health information on the health apps. Any other information will be greatly appreciated. Thank you and have a wonderful week.
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  #7  
Unread 07-21-2006, 02:25 AM
E Wart
 
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Default RE: Health Insurance applications

[font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON 07-21-06 AT 08:26AM (CST)[/font][br][br]We have been advised by our Insurance Broker's "Benefit/ERISA Attorney" not to put ANY group medical insurance enrollment forms in personnel files due to HIPAA. These forms relect whether they elected or didn't elect coverage, which is apparently protected information. Any group insurance enrollments, copies of health claims or any printed matter that relates to their group medical coverage is kept in a separate file in separate locked cabinet.
However, interestingly enough, WC, Life, LTD isn't covered by HIPAA. You can keep these enrollment information, beneficiary information, etc. in the employees personnel file if you want. If you do put it in their "HIPAA" file, then you could "cause" that information to be covered under the HIPAA law, even though it isn't. (Our Group Enrollment forms has Life and Medical Dental on same forms. We have had to devise this so that the life insuance is "cut off" and filed separately from the Group medical info. We have a stamp " thata says "Contains confidental for authorized use only" stamp. These HIPAA files are stamped with this. Also any fax or mailing that is related to HIPAA (group insurance) "should" have this info on it.
I forgot to add. You could keep FMLA or disability information in the personnel files. (No law that I know of to prohibit that.) However, common sense tells you that you are better off if this is kept separate.
E Wart
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  #8  
Unread 07-21-2006, 10:14 AM
HRCalico
 
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Default RE: Health Insurance applications

I looked up a definition of protected health information (PHI) and got this -
--------------------------------------
HIPAA regulations define health information as "any information, whether oral or recorded in any form or medium" that

"is created or received by a health care provider, health plan, public health authority, employer, life insurer, school or university, or health care clearinghouse"; AND

"relates to the past, present, or future physical or mental health or condition of an individual; the provision of health care to an individual; or the past, present, or future payment for the provision of health care to an individual."

Protected health information (PHI) under HIPAA includes any individually identifiable health information. Identifiable refers not only to data that is explicitly linked to a particular individual (that's identified information). It also includes health information with data items which reasonably could be expected to allow individual identification.

Note that the definition of PHI excludes individually identifiable health information in education records covered by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. It also excludes employment records held by a covered entity in its role as employer.

http://privacy.med.miami.edu/glossar...ealth_info.htm
--------------------------------------
So basically I'm more confused than when we started. I think the "Payment for the provision of health care" could be the angle E Wart's att'y is following. But I don't get that last part - "excludes employment records held by a covered entity in its role as employer." So if we're all excluded from HIPAA, why are we worrying? :>)

I would suggest you do some research on different ways of defining PHI, determine in good faith what you truly believe it is, and act accordingly.

Another thing, for me, is that I am pretty much the ONLY person that gets into files. My payroll clerk (who had HR duties before I was hired) has a key, but I don't know she's ever gone in. If a supervisor asks for previous performance evaluations on an employee, I usually make copies and hand those over; I don't let them rifle through the file. So that affects my answer differently than someone who turns the file over to a spvr when looking to transfer an employee.

Also, on any other form, the information I collect on my health ins enrollment form is NOT PHI - on the W-4 or I-9 for example. So I have a hard time fully believing that putting it on a certain form magically transforms it into PHI.

To address the part about the PHI being whether or not an employee is enrolled, I ask this - are pay stubs considered PHI because they show that $X was taken out (or wasn't taken out) for premiums? Personally, I don't think so, but I can see how the argument could be made.

However, I also don't see anything wrong with being too cautious, if there is such a thing. Good discussion!
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  #9  
Unread 08-04-2006, 12:49 AM
E Wart
 
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Default RE: Health Insurance applications

Our Insurance Brokers' in house attorney has been a really good reference for us. One thing that I don't think folks have mentioned. W/C, FMLA, etc. are not covered by HIPAA. (Someone was smart in the lobbying.) Therefore, by the HIPAA law, they don't need to be kept separate. (This isn't to say that I feel they should be separate.) However, you SHOULD DEFINITELY keep any group insurance enrollment information in a separate file, in a separate, locked file cabinet. Anything to do with their group insurance (claims they have been helped with, applications, Requests for Continous Coverage forms, etc.) should be kept in this file. We have been advised that you should not keep Life, LTD, W/C in this HIPAA file. If you do, you could have them have to be handled in accordance with the HIPAA privacy laws, even though they are under that law, just because they are co mingled with the group insurance info. We are warned to even be very careful with payroll information that shows deductions for group insurance.
I am not saying I agree with everything he says, but just food for thought that hasn't been mentioned. HIPAA privacy is an entirely different issue.

E Wart
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  #10  
Unread 08-04-2006, 02:26 AM
HRCalico
 
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Default RE: Health Insurance applications

Thanks for that info, E. That makes sense - I got a phone call several weeks ago from a physician's office that does the laproscopic (sp?) carpal tunnel surgery, regarding an employee we had reported with possible CTS. They get a report from the state, so apparently (at least in Nebraska), some W/C info is actually public information!
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