New York State Seal
STATE OF NEW YORK
INSURANCE DEPARTMENT
25 BEAVER STREET
NEW YORK, NEW YORK 10004

The Office of General Counsel issued the following informal opinion on July 31, 2002, representing the position of the New York State Insurance Department.

Re: Regulation 169 and Privacy Protection for Minors

QUESTION PRESENTED:

With regard to health information, does N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 11, § 420.0 – 420.25 (2001) (Regulation 169) specifically address privacy protection for minors?

CONCLUSION:

The Department’s Privacy Regulation, found at N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 11, § 420.0 – 420.25 (2001) (Regulation 169), makes no distinction between privacy protection afforded to adults and minors. As a result, the rules applicable to the release of nonpublic personal health information apply equally to both groups. The New York Public Health Law also addresses issues relating to health information and minors. Please contact the New York State Department of Health for interpretations of the Health Law.

FACTS:

The issue is general in nature. No specific facts were provided.

ANALYSIS:

The Department’s Privacy Regulation can be found at N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 11, § 420.0 – 420.25 (2001) (Regulation 169). Section 420.17(a) provides that a licensee may not disclose nonpublic personal health information about a consumer or customer unless the consumer or customer whose nonpublic personal health information is being disclosed authorizes such disclosure. Section 420.17(b) contains exceptions to the authorization requirement.

N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 11, § 420.3(e)(1) (2001) Regulation 169 defines a consumer as:

(e)(1) Consumer means an individual who, in this State, seeks to obtain, obtains or has obtained an insurance product or service, directly or through a legal representative, from a licensee that is to be used primarily for personal, family, or household purposes, and about whom the licensee has nonpublic personal information. (emphasis in original).

N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 11, § 420.3(h) (2001) defines a customer as:

(h) Customer means a consumer who has a customer relationship with a licensee. (emphasis in original).

The term "customer relationship" is defined in N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 11, § 420.3(i)(1) (2001) as:

(i)(1) Customer relationship means a continuing relationship between a consumer and a licensee under which the licensee provides one or more insurance products or services in this State to the consumer that are to be used primarily for personal, family, or household purposes. (emphasis in original).

As seen above, Regulation 169 uses the terms consumer and customer and makes no distinction between the privacy protection afforded to adults and minors. As a result, the rules applicable to the release of nonpublic personal health information apply equally to both groups. The New York Public Health Law also addresses issues concerning health information and minors. Please contact the Health Department for interpretations of the New York Public Health Law.

For further information you may contact Senior Attorney D. Monica Marsh at the New York City Office.