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I can certainly understand why you are upset. Generally, employers should not give out social security numbers (birth dates are less of an issue) without permission; however, in this case they may be acting within their rights. Under the laws regarding health care, employers may take steps to "encourage" employees to participate in wellness programs and may penalize those who do not in the form of higher charges. For those of us who do not believe that employers or the government should be that involved in our health care or insurance, this is very frustrating. However, that is the current legal status.
Although it appears that Pennsylvania does have some legislation on the employer's use of or gathering of social security numbers, I do not think that the Pennsylvania statue will apply to this use. Here is part of the statute for you to read:
(a) General rule.--A person or entity or State agency or political subdivision shall not do any of the following:
(1) Publicly post or publicly display in any manner an individual's Social Security number. "Publicly post" or "publicly display" means to intentionally communicate or otherwise make available to the general public. (2) Print an individual's Social Security number on any card required for the individual to access products or services provided by the person, entity or State agency or political subdivision.
(3) Require an individual to transmit his or her Social Security number over the Internet unless the connection is secure or the Social Security number is encrypted.
4) Require an individual to use his or her Social Security number to access an Internet website unless a password or unique personal identification number or other authentication device is also required to access the website.
(5) Print an individual's Social Security number on any materials that are mailed to the individual unless Federal or State law requires the Social Security number to be on the document to be mailed.
Notwithstanding this provision, Social Security numbers may be included in applications and forms sent by mail, including documents sent as part of an application or enrollment process or to establish, amend or terminate an account, contract or policy or to confirm the accuracy of the Social Security number. A Social Security number that is permitted to be mailed under this section may not be printed, in whole or in part, on a postcard or other mailer not requiring an envelope, or visible on the envelope or without the envelope having been opened.
(6) Disclose in any manner, except to the agency issuing the license, the Social Security number of an individual who applies for a recreational license. For the purposes of this paragraph, a "recreational license" means a license issued pursuant to 30 Pa.C.S. (relating to fish) or 34 Pa.C.S. (relating to game).
(b) Applicability.--Except as provided in subsection (c), subsection (a) applies only to the use of Social Security numbers on or after the effective date of this section.
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Thank You for your reply.... But if I am reading the Privacy Act of 1974 correct my employer can not collect personal information for one purpose ie: my health care enrollment or 401K enrollment, and then use that information for a totally different purpose without my prior consent. So can you look into that further?
Hello again. I will be happy to look at this aspect of the situation. I will be back with you after I look into this issue.
Please do not close the question until I have an opportunity to further explain. Do you have a copy of the information you employer provided you about the health insurance and the wellness program? If so, it might be helpful for me to review it.
Hello -- I reviewed the Privacy Act of 1974. The Act applies only to federal agencies so your employer will not have to comply with these regulations. This is a link were you can read the Office of Management and Budget guidelines regarding the implementation of the Act. The first paragraph discusses the purpose, which notes that it is referring to the collection of information by federal agencies.
In reviewing information on the new health care law and wellness programs, I noted that several employers are using incentives to encourage employees to participate in the program. The incentive can be an extra fee the employee must pay monthly if the employee does not participate. The company must consider whether its plan violates not only the new health care legislation but also statutes such as GINA, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.
I hope this information is helpful and provides you with the information you need to move forward. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. I will need to be away from my computer for a good while but will get back to you asap.
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