HIPAA Breach Insurance and Why You Need It

HIPAA Breach Insurance and Why You Need It

Why do you need breach insurance in case your patients’ personal health information has been exposed? This is one of the worst hits a dental office can take. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 was passed to protect patients’ medical records, and the fines for a HIPAA breach are often quite stiff. While larger medical organizations might handle the fallout and recover, some of the costs could be crippling for a smaller organization. And those costs go far beyond the payment of fines.

You will need to shop carefully for breach insurance, because not all insurers cover the full potential costs of a HIPAA breach. Exposure of the personal health information of patients has consequences that go far beyond just paying an imposed fine. You will find yourself embroiled in activities well beyond the normal scope of a dental office.

One of the first things a dental office needs to do after a HIPAA breach of personal health information is hire IT professionals to investigate the source of the breach and fix the problem. Will breach insurance cover this? It’s important to find out. Can this be handled without insurance? Very unlikely, if you want a thorough and effective fix for the breach.

In the event of a HIPAA breach, you will also need to write notification letters to all your patients, and you will be required to provide information about the breach on a web page and give patients a free number to call for more information. And you’ll need to provide free credit monitoring services for a while, so patients can watch for suspicious activity and possible identity theft. If you can find breach insurance that will help cover at least some of this, you will not be stretched as badly.

But you will still face one of the highest costs of all, even if it’s less tangible—that of repairing your damaged reputation and that of your dental office. After a HIPAA breach, will your patients continue to come to you for dental work if they aren’t sure they can trust your guardianship of their personal health information? It may not matter at this point how great a dental surgeon you are; your income could suffer for quite some time as you seek to rebuild the patients’ trust. You could even face a class action lawsuit if the HIPAA breach has been serious enough. Without breach insurance of some kind, you could find it very difficult to get back on your feet.

Some offices might try to “go it alone” and not get breach insurance at all, but that’s a gamble you should not take. A large organization can usually recover from the exposure of personal health information, but a HIPAA breach could become a death sentence for a smaller organization such as a dental office. It’s far more prudent to invest in breach insurance to protect yourself now, before you ever face the ramifications of a serious confidentiality breach.

  • Posted by Steve/
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