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Health insurance companies should strengthen their privacy policies to prevent the potential disclosure of sensitive medical information outside of the confidential patient-physician relationship, according to a new policy adopted by the nation’s physicians at the American Medical Association’s interim meeting.

Health insurers routinely issue claim processing forms – known as an explanation of benefits (“EOB”) – directly to the primary policyholder containing the payment status for any medical services provided to individuals covered under the policy. The standard practice of issuing these notices directly to the primary policyholder may disclose sensitive information about the medical care of other covered individuals, the AMA observed.

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