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Notice of Privacy Practices for Original Medicare

This notice describes how medical information about you may be used and disclosed and how you can get access to this information. Please review it carefully.

By law, Medicare is required to protect the privacy of your personal medical information. Medicare is also required to give you this notice to tell you how Medicare may use and give out ("disclose") your personal medical information held by Medicare.

Medicare must use and give out your personal medical information to provide information:

  • To you, to someone you name ("designate"), or someone who has the legal right to act for you (your personal representative),
  • To the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, if necessary, to make sure your privacy is protected, and
  • Where required by law.

Medicare has the right to use and give out your personal medical information to pay for your health care and to operate the Medicare program. For example:

  • Medicare Carriers use your personal medical information to pay or deny your claims, to collect your premiums, to share your benefit payment with your other insurer(s), or to prepare your "Medicare Summary Notice."
  • Medicare may use your personal medical information to make sure you and other Medicare beneficiaries get quality health care, to provide customer services to you, to resolve any complaints you have, or to contact you about research studies.

Medicare may use or give out your personal medical information for the following purposes under limited circumstances:

  • To State and other Federal agencies that have the legal right to receive Medicare data (such as to make sure Medicare is making proper payments and to assist Federal/State Medicaid programs),
  • For public health activities (such as reporting disease outbreaks),
  • For government health care oversight activities (such as fraud and abuse investigations),
  • For judicial and administrative proceedings (such as in response to a court order),
  • For law enforcement purposes (such as providing limited information to locate a missing person),
  • For research studies that meet all privacy law requirements (such as research related to the prevention of disease or disability),
  • To avoid a serious and imminent threat to health or safety,
  • To contact you about new or changed benefits under Medicare, and
  • To create a collection of information that can no longer be traced back to you.

By law, Medicare must have your written permission (an "authorization") to use or give out your personal medical information for any purpose that isn't set out in this notice. Medicare doesn’t sell or use and give out your personal medical information to tell you about health products or services ("marketing"). You may take back ("revoke") your written permission at any time, except if Medicare has already acted based on your permission.

By law, you have the right to:

  • See and get a copy of your personal medical information held by Medicare.
  • Have your personal medical information amended if you believe that it is wrong or if information is missing, and Medicare agrees. If Medicare disagrees, you may have a statement of your disagreement added to your personal medical information.
  • Get a listing of those getting your personal medical information from Medicare. The listing won't cover your personal medical information that was given to you or your personal representative, that was given out to pay for your health care or for Medicare operations, or that was given out for law enforcement purposes.
  • Ask Medicare to communicate with you in a different manner or at a different place (for example, by sending materials to a P.O. Box instead of your home address).
  • Ask Medicare to limit how your personal medical information is used and given out to pay your claims and run the Medicare program. Please note that Medicare may not be able to agree to your request.
  • Get a letter that tells you about the likely risk to the privacy of your personal medical information ("breach notification").
  • Get a separate paper copy of this notice.

Look at our Medicare Privacy Practices (HIPAA) FAQs for more information on:

  • Exercising your rights set out in this notice.
  • Filing a complaint, if you believe the Original Medicare Plan has violated these privacy rights. Filing a complaint won't affect your benefits under Medicare.

Speak to a Customer Service Representative about Medicare's privacy notice. Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

You may file a complaint with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Visit the HHS Health Information Privacy website, or contact the Office for Civil Rights.

By law, Medicare is required to follow the terms in this privacy notice. Medicare has the right to change the way your personal medical information is used and given out. If Medicare makes any changes to the way your personal medical information is used and given out, you will get a new notice by mail within 60 days of the change.

The Notice of Privacy Practices for the Original Medicare Plan became effective September 23, 2013.

Authorization to Disclose Personal Health Information  

For more information, please visit our Medicare Privacy Practices (HIPAA) FAQs.