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state-level med/priv note (resend) (fwd)

  reposted for Peter Marshall
  ---------- Forwarded message ----------
  Date: Thu, 18 Apr 1996 18:40:20 -0700 (PDT)
  From: Peter Marshall <rocque@eskimo.com>
  To: med-privacy@essential.org
  Subject: state-level med/priv note
  WA State seems to pride itself on its Basic Health Plan and seemed to also
  deserve privacy strokes for its all-too-unusual policy of *not* asking
  applicants to disclose their SSNs. Indeed, the BHP is quite willing to
  assign a non-SSN identifier. The BHP's application packet even contains some 
  examples of how an applicant's SSN could be used should one choose to
  disclose it. So far so good....  
  But, curiously perhaps, according to state sources, the take-rate for
  those opting *not* to disclose their SSN in these circumstances is a mere
  1.5% of the 60,000 "families" the state says are currently enrolled.
  Erosion of "expectation of privacy" and all that? Perhaps--at least to an
  But services under the BHP are--of course--provided through HMOs. It turns
  out that the state seems to omit to disclose subsequent uses of one's SSN
  by participating *HMOs*; thus raising questions not only about adequacy of
  disclosure, but also about informed consent, relationship to that 1.5%
  take-rate; and, perhaps most interestingly, to what at first--and
  superficial blush--is what *looks like* a "progressive" posture toward
  personal information-privacy. That, they said, is what some of their
  consumer research told them WA's citizens wanted, after all....
  Peter Marshall