Privacy policy

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This privacy policy statement is effective as of April 28, 2017. It is subject to change without notice.

Health Care Options (HCO) is committed to keeping your personal information private and secure, as required by law and policy. These laws and policies include the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA); California Online Privacy Protection Act of 2003 (CalOPPA—Business & Professions Code §§ 22575-22579); California Information Practices Act of 1977 (IPA); California Public Records Act (PRA—Government Code §§ 6250-6276.48); California Government Codes § 11015.5 and §11019.9; State Administrative Manual (SAM) § 5310.1; and, Statewide Information Management Manual (SIMM) 5310-A

The HCO website electronically gathers information about your visit when you browse our site. We use this information to respond to your inquiries and to improve the HCO website. The HCO site uses web analytics to gather your Internet Protocol (IP) address, and to record the web browser that you use (ex. Google Chrome, Firefox) and the name of your internet domain (ex. Gmail, AOL). Web analytics records the date and time that you access our site. It collects information on which files, pages, and links you visit. It also records the website address from which you access the HCO site.

Web analytics uses cookies and web beacons to gather information in order to serve you better. Cookies provide an ID that allows HCO to determine the number of unique visitors to our site. Web beacons track the pages you view. HCO does not use this or any other information to identify you personally. HCO uses web analytics information to help us monitor and improve our website performance. If you do not want your browser to accept cookies, you can adjust your browser settings to block them. However, some site features or services may not function properly without cookies. Web beacons do not upload to your computer and only work while you browse our site.

The goal of the HCO site is to help individuals make informed choices about Medi-Cal benefits. For example, the HCO site helps visitors enroll in or change health plans. The site helps to confirm or correct enrollment or eligibility status. The site also serves to confirm and/or correct contact information. This website may request information from you to support its functions. The information we request may include some or all of the following: your name, phone number, mailing address, county of residence, client identification number (CIN), Social Security number, date of birth and/or e-mail address. We may also request health care plan and provider data. The information you provide will be stored in the HCO and Medi-Cal Eligibility Data System (MEDS) databases. The HCO database is maintained by a subcontractor. The subcontractor will maintain HCO records for three years after the expiration of its contract with HCO. Then, the subcontractor will destroy the information using secure and confidential means approved by the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS). The MEDS database is a highly secure state system that maintains personal information until it is no longer needed. The information is then destroyed using secure, confidential means.

HCO uses the information you provide to respond to your inquiries. When you provide the information, this constitutes consent for HCO to collect and share the information with the DHCS and/or the health care provider you select. If you choose not to provide the information that we request, you will be unable to use some site features and services. However, you will still be able to use most of the website.

HCO will not distribute or sell electronically collected personal information about you to any third party without your written consent. We only use personal information for reasons stated in this privacy policy, or as stated at the time of collection, except with your consent or as authorized by law. HCO has legal authorization to share your personal information without your consent 1) to perform duties authorized by state or federal law or regulation; 2) in response to a court order; or 3) to contribute to health care statistics—in which case HCO will provide anonymous information. In limited circumstances, HCO may also share information with federal or state law enforcement authorities to investigate or respond to attempts to access HCO data or information technology without authorization.

Electronically collected personal information is exempt from requests made under the California Public Records Act.

HCO uses many approaches to protect your personal information from loss, theft, or unauthorized use. These approaches include the use of physical, administrative and technical access controls. Some of the controls HCO uses include data encryption, network intrusion prevention, data loss prevention and malware defense. HCO facilities are monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week with surveillance, alarms and access controls. HCO also takes other steps to protect your personal information.

HCO respects your rights to access the information about you that we collect or maintain, and to make corrections. We also respect your right to delete all of your electronically collected personal information without reuse or distribution. Parents and guardians may exercise these rights over the information of their child, or charge. To pursue options related to privacy or personal access, or if you have questions, comments, or complaints, or want more information about this privacy policy statement, please contact:

DHCS Privacy Officer
1501 Capitol Avenue
MS 0010
Sacramento, CA 95899-7413
Phone: 916-440-7731
E-mail: DHCSPrivacyOfficer@dhcs.ca.gov

This HCO privacy policy statement does not apply to websites that you may access from this site. When you exit the HCO website to access a different website, you will be subject to that website’s privacy policy and practices. This site will notify you when you are leaving it to access an external site.