Our privacy policies and guiding philosophy
As a health information based organization, Alberta Blue Cross has always operated within a culture of confidentiality; respecting and maintaining the privacy and security of personal information at all times.
Alberta Blue Cross has established corporate privacy policies and procedures that respect and address plan members' privacy needs and meet all legal and business requirements for the protection of personal information. The overriding Alberta Blue Cross corporate privacy policies are listed below, each followed by information on its application to our business processes. Consult the Privacy Q&As for additional details.
To report a privacy concern, please contact the Alberta Blue Cross Fraud, Privacy and Ethics Reporting service.
Policy 1: Corporate accountability
Alberta Blue Cross acknowledges its responsibilities to provide appropriate and effective security and assurance of privacy for all personal information in its care. Its policies address security and privacy through the “life cycle of information,” including: collection, custody, use, accuracy assurance, personal access to records, disclosure, reporting and disposal.
We have established corporate privacy and security policies and procedures that respect and address plan members’ privacy needs and guide the actions of anyone carrying out work for Alberta Blue Cross and meet all legal and business requirements for the protection of personal information. The privacy legislation under which Alberta Blue Cross operates includes Alberta's Health Information Act (HIA) (2001) and Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) (2003) and the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) (2001).
Policy 2: Collecting and using information
Alberta Blue Cross will collect and use only the information needed to provide, verify and manage the services plan members and plan sponsors have contracted it to provide or to communicate information to plan members and sponsors.
These uses include
- determining eligibility for coverage,
- verifying, assessing and paying claims,
- conducting audits of claims and provider practices to ensure appropriate plan use, and
- administering the terms and conditions of the benefit plan.
The information collected includes personal information such as full address, birth date, Alberta Blue Cross identification number, names and birth dates of eligible dependants and dates and descriptions of health and dental services provided.
Consent for the collection and use of personal information may be obtained on enrolment, claim forms or through the use of the Blue Cross identification card or identification number by a customer or dependant—for the purposes listed above.
Policy 3: Releasing information
Alberta Blue Cross will only share personal information outside of Alberta Blue Cross to provide, verify and manage the services its plan members or sponsors have contracted it to provide, when compelled by law, or with the consent of the individual. Under those circumstances Alberta Blue Cross will limit the disclosure to what is necessary for the purposes identified.
This would include such parties as: a licensed physician and/or any other health care professional, practitioner or institution; health benefits provider or insurer.
Information may be requested by an outside organization or person for purposes beyond those already agreed to by the individual. If that is the case, disclosure will be made only with the individual's explicit consent or when allowed or compelled by law.
The release and/or exchange of information is conducted with strict adherence to Alberta Blue Cross's privacy policies. Under all circumstances, disclosure is limited to what is necessary for the purposes identified and a record is kept of disclosures.
Alberta Blue Cross does not provide individually identifiable information to employers or employer group administration personnel, except with the consent of the plan member or adult dependant.
Alberta Blue Cross does not sell personal information or customer lists to other companies, regardless of their intentions.
Policy 4: Information accuracy and access
Alberta Blue Cross will endeavor to keep personal information as complete, accurate and up-to-date as is necessary to fulfill the purpose for which it was collected and will give individuals reasonable access to their own information.
Upon written request by an individual, Alberta Blue Cross will inform the individual of the existence, use and disclosure of his/her personal information and will provide access to it, within a reasonable time, at minimal or no cost.
Policy 5: Custody and disposal
Alberta Blue Cross will maintain appropriate safeguards and security measures to protect the personal information in its custody. Alberta Blue Cross will dispose of this information in an appropriate and secure manner when no longer required.
Alberta Blue Cross has numerous physical and digital security safeguards which reflect industry best-practices to protect the personal information in our custody against loss, theft, unauthorized access, disclosure, copying, use or modification; regardless of the format in which it is held.