Protection of Personal Health Information


  • University records containing personal employee information are to be held in confidence and safeguarded from unauthorized access.
  • Only those individuals with a specific need to use personal information in the performance of their normal administrative duties are authorized to have access to and use such information.

Covered Plans

The federal law known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires employers to ensure that personal health information is properly protected. The law protects personal health information used with a number of University sponsored benefit plans including

  • Health
  • Dental
  • Vision
  • Flexible Spending Account for Health Care
  • Employee Assistance Program

Excluded Plans

  • Extended Sick Time Program
  • Long Term Disability
  • Retirement
  • Tuition
  • Life Insurance

Notice of Privacy Practices

The University’s notice and notices issued by our insurance companies may be obtained by download as listed below. You may also receive notices from your health care providers, health care insurance companies, claims administrators and others explaining their own policies.

The Notice explains procedures for you to request copies of your health information maintained in your University benefits file. You may also request health information maintained by the insurance companies or claims administrators as well as amend your records in some cases.

If you still have questions after reading the notices about the privacy policies followed by the Northwestern plans, contact your insurance company or the Benefits Division at (847) 491-7513.

Release of Your Information

  • HIPAA regulations specify that your personal health information may be used by your insurance company and physician, hospital, other providers and insurance companies for diagnostic and treatment purposes as well as for the payment for such services. Personal health information may also be used for health care operations such as determining eligibility, processing enrollment information, establishing premium amounts and submitting premium payments to the insurance companies. Such uses do not require your specific written authorization.
  • Should you like a Benefits Division staff member to release your benefit plan enrollment or claim information on your behalf to be shared with a family member or other individual, you should submit a completed Release of Information Authorization PDF Document form to the Benefits Division.