The Office of General Counsel issued the following informal opinion on December 17, 2002, representing the position of the New York State Insurance Department.

Re: No-Fault Cases and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 ("HIPAA")

The inquirer recently asked whether, with respect to No-Fault cases, HIPAA provides an exception to the general requirement that a release form be obtained before medical records can be shared. HIPAA is administered by the United States Department of Health and Human Services ("HHS") and requests for interpretations of HIPAA should be directed to that agency. Enclosed, is a copy of Circular Letter No. 17 (2002), issued by this Department on October 3, 2002, which provides the addresses of several web sites that may be of interest. Also, helpful, would be a visit to for responses to frequently asked questions about HIPAA. The HHS web site ( also provides the public with the ability to submit questions to HHS for a response.

For further information you may contact Supervising Attorney Joan Siegel at the New York City Office.