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Frequently Asked Questions

Secure Email

AmeriHealth has installed a product that allows you to obtain secured messages. While this process requires some extra steps, we are making every effort to ensure that there is no significant disruption to your communications. We appreciate your cooperation in helping us safeguard Protected Health Information (PHI).

I just received a notice in my inbox saying AmeriHealth has a secure email waiting for me. What does this mean?

Why is AmeriHealth securing email?

How does AmeriHealth plan to secure, or encrypt, email?

What does encryption mean?

What do I do if I forget my secure email password?

AmeriHealth used to send documents protected by passwords. Do I still have to get a password from the sender?

What kind of browser do I need to use? Are there other technical requirements?

How can I tell that my browser is secure?

Can I securely respond to encrypted email sent to me?

Does it affect outbound email, inbound email, or both?

If I have anti-virus software installed on my PC and I try to save a secure email and/or attachments, will the anti-virus software scan them for viruses?

What should I do when I’m asked to click a ‘yes’ box about trusting Tumbleweed and allowing it to install software?

When I save an attachment or close a message, the whole window closes and I have to log in again. How can I avoid this?

I just received a notice in my inbox saying AmeriHealth has a secure email waiting for me. What does this mean?
When a secure message is sent to you from AmeriHealth, it will not appear in your inbox. Instead, you will receive a message within an email informing you that AmeriHealth has a secure email waiting for you. The email will contain a link. When you click on that link, your browser will connect you with secure email, and you will be able to pick up your email message.

Why is AmeriHealth securing email?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires that covered entities such as AmeriHealth take additional measures to protect the privacy and security of PHI, which is information – such as name, address, or social security number – that identifies a person in relation to their health status or health information. Prior to the HIPAA regulation, AmeriHealth instituted technical controls and business practices designed to protect PHI.

How does AmeriHealth plan to secure, or encrypt, email?
AmeriHealth has installed hardware and software that saves email containing PHI on a secure server. When the recipient retrieves the message, he or she is communicating through a secure browser. That way the message never passes through the public, unsecured Internet.

What does encryption mean?
Encryption is an electronic means of protecting a communication by altering it so that it is unintelligible to unauthorized parties. A message is encrypted by software that encodes the message, or wraps it in information so that only the designated recipient can open (or decode) it.

What do I do if I forget my secure email password?
You have two options.

  • Click the password reminder button on the Login screen.
  • Contact the person who sent you the email. It will be reset and you will be contacted with the new password.

AmeriHealth used to send documents protected by passwords. Do I still have to get a password from the sender?
No. The new process makes that unnecessary, unless you don’t have access to a browser and the Internet. If that is the case, continue to password-protect documents as you have in the past.

What kind of browser do I need to use? Are there other technical requirements?
To access secure email, you will need:

  • An email client (application) such as Outlook
  • A browser such as Internet Explorer
  • A connection to the Internet

Email Applications

You will need an email application to receive the Secure Email notification message telling you that a secure email is waiting for you. Any email application can be used. Most of the time after the first time you will access secure email through your browser window.

Browsers

Secure email supports the following versions of the most commonly used browsers:

Browser Version Windows Solaris MacIntosh
Netscape 7.0, 6.2.x, 6.1.x, 4.7.x x    
Netscape 6.2.x   x  
Internet Explorer 6.0, 5.5, 5.0 x    
Internet Explorer 5.1     x
AOL 8.0, 7.0 x    
AOL 5.0     x

Internet Service Providers

Secure email will work through most Internet Service Providers, including America Online.

Firewalls

To date, there have been no issues regarding access to secure email through a corporate firewall.

Operating Systems

    Secure email requires the following desktop operating systems for browsers:
  • Windows 98, ME, NT 4 Workstation, 2000 Professional, XP Home Edition or Pro Edition
  • Solaris 8
  • Macintosh 9.x
  • Macintosh OS X versions10.3 and 10.4
  • Safari 2.0

How can I tell that my browser is secure?
If you look in the lower right-hand corner of your browser window, you should see a small image of a lock. If it is there and appears to be “locked,” your browser is secure.

Can I securely respond to encrypted email sent to me?
Yes. When you receive a secured message from AmeriHealth, you simply need to press the “Reply” button to respond to the sender. Your message will be secure, but it is important to note that if you save it to your desktop or forward it, it may no longer be secure.

Does it affect outbound email, inbound email, or both?
Only email containing PHI and sent out from AmeriHealth will be encrypted. The security of inbound email is up to the sender, and AmeriHealth doesn’t not need to make sure incoming email containing PHI is sent securely.

If I have anti-virus software installed on my PC and I try to save a secure email and/or attachments, will the anti-virus software scan them for viruses?
Only if you tell it to do so in your settings or preferences.

What should I do when I’m asked to click a ‘yes’ box about trusting Tumbleweed and allowing it to install software?
Click the ‘yes’ button. Tumbleweed is the company that provides the secure email software. You need to install it to view the secure email.

When I save an attachment or close a message, the whole window closes and I have to log in again. How can I avoid this?
Unfortunately, this happens when using certain versions of browsers to access secure email. See the technical requirements section above.