Indiana Security & Privacy Network

HIPAA and Same-sex Marriage: Understanding Spouse, Family Member, and Marriage in the Privacy Rule

The HIPAA Privacy Rule contains several provisions that recognize the integral role that family members, such as spouses, often play in a patient’s health care. For example, the Privacy Rule allows covered entities to share information about the patient’s care with family members in various circumstances. In addition, the Privacy Rule provides protections against the use of genetic information about an individual, which includes certain information about family members of the individual, for underwriting purposes. This guidance addresses the effect of the 2013 Supreme Court decision regarding the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) on these provisions.  For more information go to  http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/special/samesexmarriage/index.html