Are communications about government programs or government-sponsored programs “marketing” under the HIPAA Privacy Rule?
No. Communications about government and government-sponsored programs do not fall within the definition of “marketing,” as there is no commercial component to communications about benefits available through public programs. Therefore, a covered entity is permitted to use and disclose protected health information to communicate with individuals about eligibility for such programs as Medicare, Medicaid, or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Similarly, government-mandated communications are not considered marketing under the Privacy Rule as such communications also are not commercial in nature.