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 dependents, 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 dependent – for the purposes listed above.
Examples of current consent statements are found at the end of this page or on this web site's Forms page.
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 dependent.
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.
Consent statement examples
From the Alberta Blue Cross ID card:
From the Health Services Claim form (ABC20039):
Acknowledgement and Consent
By submitting this Health Services Claim ("Claim") for processing and payment by Alberta Blue Cross, and in consideration of Alberta Blue Cross processing/paying this claim, I/we consent and/or agree to/with the following provisions:
- The identified services have been received and fully paid for prior to the date of this Claim.
- All information contained in this claim and any supporting documents is complete and true.
- All personal information contained in this Claim, as well as other personal information currently held or collected in the future by Alberta Blue Cross, will be used by Alberta Blue Cross only to determine eligibility for benefits, to assess/pay claims, to administer the terms of my/our benefit plan and to verify/audit claims.
- My/our or my dependents’ personal information may be disclosed/exchanged only between Alberta Blue Cross and a licensed physician and/or health services provider/professional/practitioner, institution or insurer, only for the purposes stated above, and my/our and my dependents’ personal information will otherwise be kept confidential and secure.
- The Member is authorized by his/her spouse and/or other adult dependents to disclose/receive information about them that is used solely for these purposes.
- For the purpose of verifying/auditing paid claims, I/we and my spouse/eligible dependent(s) will co-operate fully with Alberta Blue Cross.
- I/we understand why my/our and my dependents’ personal information is needed and am aware of the risks and benefits of consenting or refusing to consent to its use as described above.
- I/we have read and understood this Acknowledgement and Consent and understand that Alberta Blue Cross is relying on this signed Acknowledgement and Consent when assessing (and paying) this Claim.
- I/we authorize Alberta Blue Cross to collect, use and disclose my/our and my dependents’ personal information as described above.
- I/we agree that this Acknowledgement and Consent shall be effective from the date of Claim and shall remain in effect as long as the coverage is in force