Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information. Final Privacy Rule Preamble.. Federal Employees Health Benefits Program


Comment: A few comments expressed concern about the preemption effect on FEHBP and wanted clarification that the privacy regulation does not alter the existing preemptive scope of the program.

Response: We do not intend to affect the preemptive scope of the FEHBP. The Federal Employee Health Benefit Act of 1998 preempts any state law that "relates to" health insurance or plans. 5 U.S.C. 8902(m). The final rule does not attempt to alter the preemptive scope Congress has provided to the FEHBP.

Comment: One comment suggested that in the context of FEHBP HHS should place the enforcement responsibilities of the privacy regulation with Office of Personnel Management, as the agency responsible for administering the program.

Response: We disagree. Congress placed enforcement with the Secretary. See section 1176 of the Act.