Legal Notices

For a printable version of 2019 Legal Notices, click here. For 2018 Legal Notices, click here.

  • Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Notices

    Choice of Primary Care Physician

    The Plan generally allows the designation of a Primary Care Physician/Provider (PCP). You have the right to designate any PCP who participates in the Claims Administrator’s network, and who is available to accept you or your family members. For children, you may also designate a pediatrician as the PCP.  For information on how to select a PCP, and for a list of participating PCP’s, call the telephone number on the back of your Identification Card.

    Access to Obstetrical and Gynecological (OB/GYN) Care

    You do not need prior authorization from the Plan or from any other person (including a PCP) in order to obtain access to obstetrical or gynecological care from a health care professional in the Claims Administrator’s network who specializes in obstetrics or gynecology. The health care professional, however, may be required to comply with certain procedures, including obtaining prior authorization for certain services, following a pre-approved treatment plan, or procedures for making referrals.  For a list of participating health care professionals who specialize in obstetrics or gynecology, call the telephone number on the back of your Identification Card.

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  • HIPAA Special Enrollment Notice

    If you decline enrollment for yourself or your Dependents (including your spouse) because of other health insurance or group health plan coverage, you may be able to enroll yourself and your Dependents if you or your Dependents lose eligibility for that other coverage (or if the employer stops contributing towards your or your Dependents' other coverage). However, you must request enrollment within 31 days after your or your Dependents’ other coverage ends (or after the employer stops contributing toward the other coverage).

    In addition, if you have a new Dependent as a result of marriage, birth, adoption, or placement for adoption, you may be able to enroll yourself and your new Dependents. However, you must request enrollment within thirty-one (31) days after the marriage or adoption, or placement for adoption (or within 90 days for a newly eligible dependent child).

    Eligible Covered Persons and Dependents may also enroll under two additional circumstances:

    • The Covered Person’s or Dependent’s Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage is terminated as a result of loss of eligibility; or
    • The Covered Person or Dependent becomes eligible for a subsidy (State Premium Assistance Program).

    NOTE: The Covered Person or Dependent must request Special Enrollment within sixty (60) days of the loss of Medicaid/CHIP or of the eligibility determination.   To request Special Enrollment or obtain more information, call SHBP Member Services at 1-800-610-1863 or visit the SHBP Enrollment Portal:

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  • Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998

    The Plan complies with the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998. Mastectomy, including reconstructive surgery, is covered the same as other medical and surgical benefits under your Plan Option. Following cancer surgery, the SHBP covers: All stages of reconstruction of the breast on which the mastectomy has been performed Reconstruction of the other breast to achieve a symmetrical appearance Prostheses and mastectomy bras Treatment of physical complications of mastectomy, including lymphedema NOTE: Reconstructive surgery requires prior approval, and all Inpatient admissions require prior notification. For more detailed information on the mastectomy-related benefits available under your Plan option, call the telephone number on the back of your Identification Card.

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  • Newborns' and Mothers' Health Protection Act of 1996

    The Plan complies with the Newborns’ and Mothers’ Health Protection Act of 1996.

    Group health plans and health insurance issuers generally may not, under Federal law, restrict Benefits for any hospital length of stay in connection with childbirth for the mother or newborn to less than 48 hours following a vaginal delivery, or less than 96 hours following a cesarean section. However, federal law generally does not prohibit the mother’s or newborn’s attending Provider, after consulting with the mother, from discharging the mother or her newborn earlier than 48 hours (or 96 hours, as applicable). In any case, plans and issuers may not, under Federal law, require that a Provider obtain authorization from the Plan or the insurance issuer for prescribing a length of stay not in excess of 48 hours (or 96 hours, as applicable).

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  • HIPAA Notice of Information Privacy Practices

    Georgia Department of Community Health State Health Benefit Plan Notice of Information Privacy Practices

    Revised June 28, 2018

    The  purpose  of  this  notice  is  to  describe  how  medical  information  about  you,  which includes your personal information, may be used and disclosed and how you can get access to this information. Please review it carefully.

    The Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) and the State Health Benefit Plan Are Committed to Your Privacy.

    DCH understands that your information is personal and private. Certain DCH employees and companies hired by DCH to help administer the Plan (Plan Representatives) use and share your personal and private information in order to administer the Plan. This information is called “Protected Health Information” (PHI), and includes any information that identifies you or information in which there is a reasonable basis to believe can be used to identify you and that relates to your past, present, or future physical or mental health or condition, the provision of health care to you, and payment for those services. This notice tells how your PHI is used and shared by DCH and Plan Representatives. DCH follows the information privacy rules of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”).

    Only Summary Information is Used When Developing and/or Modifying the Plan.

    The Board of Community Health, which is the governing Board of DCH, the Commissioner of DCH and the Chief of the Plan administer the Plan and make certain decisions about the Plan. During those processes, they may review certain reports that explain costs, problems, and needs of the Plan. These reports never include information that identifies any individual person. If your employer is allowed to leave the Plan entirely, or stop offering the Plan to a portion of its workforce, DCH may provide Summary Health Information (as defined by federal law) for the applicable portion of the workforce. This Summary Health Information may only be used by your employer to obtain health insurance quotes from other sources and make decisions about whether to continue to offer the Plan.  Please note that DCH, Plan Representatives, and your employer are prohibited by law from using any PHI that includes genetic information for underwriting purposes.

    Plan “Enrollment Information” and “Claims Information” are Used in Order to Administer the Plan.

    PHI includes two kinds of information, “Enrollment Information” and “Claims Information”. “Enrollment Information” includes, but is not limited to, the following types of information regarding your plan enrollment: (1) your name, address, email address, social security number and all information that validates you (and/or your Spouse and Dependents) are eligible or enrolled in the Plan; (2) your Plan enrollment choice; (3) how much you pay for premiums; and (4) other health insurance you may have in effect. There are certain types of “Enrollment Information” which may be supplied to the Plan by you or your personal representative, your employer, other Plan vendors or other governmental agencies that may provide other benefits to you. This “Enrollment Information” is the only kind of PHI your employer is allowed to obtain.  Your employer is prohibited by law from using this information for any purpose other than assisting with Plan enrollment.

    “Claims  Information”  includes  information  your  health  care  providers  submit  to  the  Plan.    For example, claims information may include medical bills, diagnoses, statements, x-rays or lab test results. It also includes information you may submit or communicate directly to the Plan, such as health questionnaires, biometric screening results, enrollment forms,   leave forms, letters and/or telephone calls.   Lastly, it includes information about you that may be created by the Plan.   For example, it may include payment statements and/or other financial transactions related to your health care providers.

    Your PHI is Protected by HIPAA.

    Under HIPAA, employees of DCH and employees of outside companies and other vendors hired or contracted either directly or indirectly by DCH to administer the Plan are “Plan Representatives,” and therefore must protect your PHI. These Plan Representatives may only use PHI and share it as allowed by HIPAA, and pursuant to their “Business Associate” agreements with DCH to ensure compliance with HIPAA and DCH requirements.

    DCH Must Ensure the Plan Complies with HIPAA.

    DCH must make sure the Plan complies with all applicable laws, including HIPAA. DCH and/or the Plan must provide this notice, follow its terms and update it as needed.  Under HIPAA, Plan Representatives may only use and share PHI as allowed by law.  If there is a breach of your PHI, DCH must notify you of the breach.

    Plan Representatives Regularly Use and Share your PHI in Order to Administer the Plan.  

     Plan Representatives may verify your eligibility in order to make payments to your health care providers for services rendered. Certain Plan Representatives may work for contracted companies assisting with the administration of the Plan. By law, these Plan Representative companies also must protect your PHI. 

    HIPAA allows the Plan to use or disclose PHI for treatment, payment, or health care operations. Below are examples of uses and disclosures for treatment, payment and health care operations by Plan Representative Companies and PHI data sharing.

    Claims Administrator Companies:  Plan Representatives process all medical and drug claims; communicate with the Plan Members and/or their health care providers.

    Wellness Program Administrator Companies:  Plan Representatives administer Well-Being programs offered under the Plan; and communicate with the Plan Members and/or their health care providers.

    Actuarial, Health Care and /or Benefit Consultant Companies: Plan Representatives may have access to PHI in order to conduct financial projections, premium and reserve calculations, and financial impact studies on legislative policy changes affecting the Plan.  

    State of Georgia Attorney General’s Office, Auditing Companies and Outside Law Firms: Plan Representatives may provide legal, accounting and/or auditing assistance to the Plan.

    Information Technology Companies:  Plan Representatives maintain and manage information systems that contain PHI.

    Enrollment Services Companies:  Plan Representatives may provide the enrollment website and/or provide customer service to help Plan Members with enrollment matters.

    Note: Treatment is not provided by the Plan but we may use or disclose PHI in arranging or approving treatment with providers.

    Under HIPAA, all employees of DCH must protect PHI and all employees must receive and comply with DCH HIPAA privacy training. Only those DCH employees designated by DCH as Plan Representatives for the SHBP health care component are allowed to use and share your PHI.

    DCH and Plan Representatives May Make Uses or Disclosures Permitted by Law in Special Situations.  

    HIPAA includes a list of special situations when the Plan may use or disclose your PHI without your authorization as permitted by law. The Plan must track these uses or disclosures. Below are some examples of special situations where uses or disclosures for PHI data sharing are permitted by law.  These include, but are not limited to, the following:

    Compliance with a Law or to Prevent Serious Threats to Health or Safety:  The Plan may use or share your PHI in order to comply with a law or to prevent a serious threat to health and safety.

    Public Health Activities: The Plan may give PHI to other government agencies that perform public health activities.

    Information about Eligibility for the Plan and to Improve Plan Administration: The Plan may give PHI to other government agencies, as applicable, that may provide you or your dependents benefits (such as state retirement systems or other state or federal programs) in order to get information about your or your dependent’s eligibility for the Plan, to improve administration of the Plan, or to facilitate your receipt of other benefits.

    Research Purposes: Your PHI may be given to researchers for a research project, when the research has been approved by an institutional review board. The institutional review board must review the research project and its rules to ensure the privacy of your information.

    Plan Representatives Share Some Payment Information with the Employee.  

    Except as described in this notice, Plan Representatives are allowed to share your PHI only with you and/or with your legal personal representative.  However, the Plan may provide limited information to the employee about whether the Plan paid or denied a claim for another family member.

    You May Authorize Other Uses of Your PHI.

    Plan Representatives may not use or share your PHI for any reason that is not described in this notice without a written authorization by you or your legal representative.  For example, use of your PHI for marketing purposes or uses or disclosures that would constitute a sale of PHI are illegal without this written authorization. If you give a written authorization, you may revoke it later.

    You Have Privacy Rights Related to Plan Enrollment Information and Claims Information that Identifies You.

    Right to Inspect and Obtain a Copy of your Information, Right to Ask for a Correction: You have the right to obtain a copy of your PHI that is used to make decisions about you. If you think it is incorrect or incomplete, you may contact the Plan to request a correction.

    Right to Ask for a List of Special Uses and Disclosures: You have the right to ask for a list of all special uses and disclosures.

    Right to Ask for a Restriction of Uses and Disclosures or for Special Communications: You have the right to ask for added restrictions on uses and disclosures, but the Plan is not required to agree to a requested restriction, except if the disclosure is for the purpose of carrying out payment or health care operations, is not otherwise required by law, and pertains solely to a health care item or service that you or someone else on your behalf has paid in full. You also may ask the Plan to communicate with you at a different address or by an alternative means of communication in order to protect your safety.

    Right to a Paper Copy of this notice and Right to File a Complaint: You have the right to a paper copy of this notice. Please contact the SHBP Member Services Center at 1-800-610-1863 or you may download a copy at If you think your HIPAA privacy rights may have been violated, you may file a complaint. You may file the complaint with the Plan and/or the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Civil Rights, Region IV. You will never be penalized by the Plan or your employer for filing a complaint.

    Address to File HIPAA Complaints:

    Georgia Department of Community Health

    SHBP HIPAA Privacy Unit
    P.O. Box 1990
    Atlanta, GA 30301

    U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

    Office for Civil Rights
    Region IV

    Atlanta Federal Center
    61 Forsyth Street SW
    Suite 3B70
    Atlanta, GA 30303-8909

    For more information about this Notice, contact:

    Georgia Department of Community Health
    State Health Benefit Plan

    P.O. Box 1990
    Atlanta, GA 30301


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  • Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Medicare Part D Creditable Coverage Notice

    Important Notice from the Department of Community Health about Your 2019 Prescription Drug Coverage under the State Health Benefit Plan and Medicare for Plan Year: January 1 – December 31, 2019

    Please read this notice carefully and keep it where you can find it. This notice has information about your current Prescription Drug coverage with the State Health Benefit Plan (SHBP) and about your options under Medicare’s Prescription Drug coverage.

    This information can help you decide whether or not you want to join a Medicare drug plan. If you are considering joining, you should compare your current coverage, including which drugs are covered at what cost, with the coverage and costs of the plans offering Medicare Prescription Drug coverage in your area. Information about where you can get help to make decisions about your Prescription Drug coverage is at the end of this notice.

    There are two important things you need to know about your current coverage and Medicare’s Prescription Drug coverage:

    1. Medicare Prescription Drug coverage became available in 2006 to everyone with Medicare. You can get this coverage if you join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan or join a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO) that offers Prescription Drug coverage. All Medicare drug plans provide at least a standard level of coverage set by Medicare. Some plans may also offer more coverage for a higher monthly premium.
    2. The Department of Community Health has determined that the Prescription Drug coverage offered under SHBP is, on average for all plan participants, expected to pay out as much as standard Medicare Prescription Drug coverage pays and is, therefore considered Creditable Coverage. Because your existing coverage is Creditable Coverage, you can keep this coverage and not pay a higher premium (a penalty) if you later decide to join a Medicare drug plan.

    When Can You Join A Medicare Drug Plan?

    You can join a Medicare drug plan when you first become eligible for Medicare and each year from October 15th to December 7th. However, if you lose your current creditable Prescription Drug coverage, through no fault of your own, you will also be eligible for a two (2) month Special Enrollment Period (“SEP”) to join a Medicare drug plan.

    What Happens To Your Current Coverage If You Decide to Join A Medicare Part D Drug Plan?

    If you decide to join a Medicare drug plan, your current SHBP coverage will be affected. If you join a Medicare drug plan and do not terminate your SHBP coverage, SHBP will coordinate Benefits with the Medicare drug plan coverage the month following receipt of the notice.  You should send a copy of your notice to SHBP at: P.O. Box 1990, Atlanta, GA 30301-1990.

    IMPORTANT: If you are a retiree and terminate your SHBP coverage, you will not be able to get this SHBP coverage back.

    When Will You Pay A Higher Premium (Penalty) To Join A Medicare Drug Plan?

    You should also know that if you drop or lose your current coverage with SHBP and don’t join a Medicare drug plan within 63 continuous days after your current coverage ends, you may pay a higher premium (a penalty) to join a Medicare drug plan later.

    If you go sixty-three (63) continuous days or longer without creditable prescription drug coverage, your monthly premium may go up by at least 1% of the Medicare base beneficiary premium per month for every month that you did not have that coverage.  For example, if you go nineteen months without creditable coverage, your premium may consistently be at least 19% higher than the Medicare base beneficiary premium. You may have to pay this higher premium (a penalty) as long as you have Medicare Prescription Drug coverage. In addition, if you don’t join within 63 continuous days after your current coverage ends, you may have to wait until the following October to join.

    For More Information About This Notice Or Your Current Prescription Drug Coverage

    Contact the SHBP Member Services Center at: 1-800-610-1863.

    NoteYou’ll get this notice each year. You will also get it before the next period you can join a Medicare drug plan, and if this coverage through SHBP changes. You also may request a copy of this notice at any time.

    For More Information about Your Options Under Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage

    More  detailed  information  about  Medicare  plans  that  offer  Prescription  Drug  coverage  is  in  the “Medicare & You” handbook. You’ll get a copy of the handbook in the mail every year from Medicare. You may also be contacted directly by Medicare drug plans. For more information about Medicare Prescription Drug coverage:

    • Visit:
    • Call your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (see the inside back cover of your copy of the “Medicare & You” handbook for their telephone number) for personalized help
    • Call 1-800-MEDICARE at: 1-800-633-4227 (TTY 1-877-486-2048)

    If you have limited income and resources, extra help paying for Medicare Prescription Drug coverage is available. For information about this extra help, visit Social Security on the web at: or call at: 1-800-772-1213 (TTY: 1-800-325-0778).

    REMEMBERKeep this Creditable Coverage notice. If you decide to join one of the Medicare drug plans, you may be required to provide a copy of this notice when you join to show whether or not you have maintained creditable coverage and, therefore, whether or not you are required to pay a higher premium (a penalty).

    From:  January 1, 2019  To:  December 31, 2019

    Date:   June 28, 2018

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  • Summaries of Benefits and Coverage

    Summaries of benefits and coverage describe each Plan Option in the standard format required by the Affordable Care Act. These documents are posted here: To request a paper copy, please contact SHBP Member Services at 800-610-1863.

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  • Georgia Law Section 33-30-13 Notice:

    SHBP actuaries have determined that the total cost of coverage (which includes the cost paid by the State and the cost paid by members) under all options is 0% higher than it would be if the Affordable Care Act provisions did not apply.

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