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New HIPAA Regulations for Agents Went into Effect Feb. 17th, 2010

Passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the HITECH Act in 2009 extended HIPAA requirements—for the first time—beyond doctors, hospitals and health insurers to include service providers to the health care industry (such as insurance brokers and agencies). Enforcement of the new law began February 17th, 2010. Infractions, depending on the severity, can result in fines ranging from $100 to $50,000 for each violation.

One of the major affects of the law will be the enforcement of HIPAA privacy standards on e-mails sent by agents that contain sensitive information (for example an application with your client’s social security number on it). In order to protect your clients’ information and stay in compliance with this new law, you will need to begin encrypting any e-mail that contains information considered sensitive under HIPAA. SMS has already begun encrypting our e-mail through a secure e-mail solution provider, Zix Corporation.

What is Secure E-mail?

Secure e-mail means that e-mails with sensitive information in them are not sent through “open” e-mail channels. Instead the e-mail goes to a secure e-mail portal where the e-mail recipient must log in using a username and password to view the e-mail content. You may be receiving secure e-mails from SMS right now.

How Can Agents Stay Compliant?

For just $100 per user, you can get secure e-mail service from Zix Corporation and begin protecting yourself and your clients. Go to www.zixencryption.com for more information.

Note: SMS is not charging for this service. It is purchased directly through Zix Corporation.

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