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Why email isn’t private

Picture of computersYou may have seen our warnings that say “Please know that email is not private. Messages you send can be copied or read by others. If you send us an email, this tells us that you know and accept the risks. You may email us, but please consider calling, faxing, or sending us a letter if you want to send personal health information (PHI).  PHI includes a Medicaid ID number, Social Security number and a member’s medical information.” We post those at the end of every blog and on our Twitter updates.

We post that warning because we want to make sure you understand the privacy risks any time you use email to communicate.

Our computer systems at Georgia Families, such as the email blog@georgia-families.com, are very secure — and we have special software that protects us and you. But most personal email accounts are not protected in that way. When you send us an email using your personal email account, it’s like sending an electronic postcard! Before the email reaches its destination many people have the opportunity to see what you wrote.

Think of a postcard going through the mail system. Along the way, postal workers could read it if they wanted to. The same is true of email. When you send an email from a public computer or even your own computer, the email makes many stops on its electronic journey. It’s not private! Many people (network managers, security workers, hackers) could read it if they wanted. Most of them won’t read email, but every once in a while hackers get valuable information about people by doing just that.

So please don’t put anything private in an email to us or to anyone else; don’t send your Social Security Number, your Medicaid ID number, or anything you don’t want the whole world to see. Georgia Families cannot guarantee the security of the transfer of your messages to our servers. Keep your personal information private.

We really, really want to hear feedback from you about our blogs, Facebook and Twitter pages. We want to know if people are reading them and learning from them! Write us an email to tell us what you think — just don’t include information that is private.

Please send suggestions and comments, questions and ideas.

Please do not send anything about your health care or information such as your Social Security Number and date of birth.

We can answer any questions about the Georgia Families program for you. But, if you have questions about your health plan, your doctor, payments or health care, call our call center.

Did this blog help to explain email security and protected health information to you? Let us know! Email us at blog@georgia-families.com.

Please know that email is not private. Messages you send can be copied or read by others. If you send us an email, this tells us that you know and accept the risks. You may email us, but please consider calling, faxing, or sending us a letter if you want to send personal health information (PHI).  PHI includes a Medicaid ID number, Social Security number and a member’s medical information.

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