Online and mobile privacy notice
Effective Date: January 25, 2018
Blue Shield of California's website(s) and mobile application are owned and operated by Blue Shield of California and its subsidiary Blue Shield of California Life & Health Insurance Company. In this Notice both companies are referred to collectively as "Blue Shield" (also “We” or “Us”). We at Blue Shield respect your privacy and we work hard to protect the information you provide online. This Privacy Notice describes how we collect, use, share and secure the personal information you provide. Additionally, it describes the choices available to you regarding our use of your information and how you can access and update your personal information.
Blue Shield has other Privacy Notices that may apply to you. They provide more detail about how we may use and share your personal information in compliance with the law.
Information collection and use
When you register or log into your online Blue Shield accounts through our website or via the App, you may be required to share certain personal information with us, such as your name, address, date of birth, social security number, and/or other information that can be used to identify you. Additionally, Blue Shield will request that you provide an email address and password to create your account. Employers may also input employee personal information through the employer portal. When you return to your Blue Shield accounts, this personal information will be used to "authenticate" or confirm your identity in order to secure and properly restrict access to your online accounts. The collected information will be used to facilitate the provision of our services to you or your organization and with your consent, to provide you with relevant communications.
Some portions of our website and/or App may allow you to purchase or pay for products or services electronically. The credit card or other electronic payment information we collect will be used to process the payment.
We give members the opportunity to review physicians. Please be aware that we display those reviews on our site. You may provide a screen name to be displayed along with the review. Your comments and reviews are not personal information and can be viewed by others. To request removal or modification of your comment or review section, contact us at Patient Review Center. In some cases, we may not be able to remove your comment or review.
Surveys and contests
Blue Shield may provide you the opportunity to participate in surveys or contests when you visit our website. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary. If you choose to participate, we will request certain personal information from you. The requested information typically includes contact information (such as name and email address), and demographic information (such as zip code). We use this information to improve our services.
Any personal information that you provide through our website or via the App may be combined with information we have legally collected from or about you. We may supplement the information that you submit to us online with other personal information that you submit to us offline, for example, from a paper application that you submit to us, or that we legally obtain about you from public and non-public sources.
As is true of most websites and mobile applications, we gather certain information automatically and store it in log files. This information may include internet protocol (IP) addresses, browser type, internet service provider (ISP), device identifier, referring/exit pages, operating system, date/time stamp, and/or clickstream data. The information is used to tailor and improve our services. We may combine this automatically collected log information with other information we collect about you. We do this to improve services we offer you, to improve marketing, analytics, or site functionality.
Technologies such as: cookies, beacons, tags and scripts or similar technologies are used by Blue Shield and our partners (e.g., survey partners), affiliates, or analytics or service providers (e.g., online customer support providers, etc.). These technologies are used in analyzing trends, administering the site, tracking users’ movements around the site and to gather demographic information about our user base as a whole. We may receive reports based on the use of these technologies by these companies on an individual as well as aggregated basis. You can manage your Flash cookies here.
We partner with a third party to manage our advertising on other sites. Our third party partner may use technologies such as cookies to gather information about your activities on this site and other sites in order to provide you advertising based upon your browsing activities and interests. If you wish to not have this information used for the purpose of serving you interest-based ads, you may opt-out here.
When using certain functions via the App, your location information may be used if your mobile device uses global positioning system ("GPS") technology, trackers or other location tools. If you allow your location information to be obtained, we will use this information solely to return your estimated location and to provide you with more localized results and/or services. Blue Shield does not monitor your GPS tracking or location information, does not share the information with any third parties other than service providers, and does not save this information. You may restrict sharing of your location information through your device’s settings menu.
When you download and use our mobile application, we automatically collect information on the type of device you use, operating system version, and the device identifier (or "UDID").
We use mobile analytics software to allow us to better understand the functionality of our Mobile Software on your phone. This software may record information such as how often you use the application, the events that occur within the application, aggregated usage, performance data, and where the application was downloaded from. We do not link the information we store within the analytics software to any personally identifiable information you submit within the mobile application.
We do not sell your personal information. Any personal information you provide on our website or App will be used only in ways consistent with this, the HIPAA and the GLBA Privacy Notices, and in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. We share information to support our business operations and to provide services to you. In doing so, we share the information we collect about you with appropriate employees and with service providers who assist us with, for example, administering our products and services, billing and payments, recruiting employment applicants, conducting surveys, and/or maintaining and operating our website and App. Please know that third party service providers are authorized to use your personal information only as necessary to provide services to us.
Some of our pages utilize framing techniques to serve content from our partners while preserving the look and feel of our site. Please be aware that you are providing your personal information to these third parties and not to Blue Shield.
Blue Shield may also disclose your personal information in the following instances:
As required by law, such as to comply with a subpoena, or similar legal process
When we believe in good faith that it is necessary to protect our rights, your safety or the safety of others, investigate fraud, or respond to a government request
In certain situations, Blue Shield may be required to disclose personal data in response to lawful requests by public authorities, including to meet national security or law enforcement requirements.
If Blue Shield is involved in a merger, acquisition, or sale of all or a portion of its assets, you will be notified via email and/or a prominent notice on our website of any change in ownership or uses of your personal information, as well as any choices you may have regarding your personal information
Blue Shield may share your information with any other third party if you grant us consent to do so
Some pages may have the look and feel of www.blueshieldca.com, however the information collected on these pages may not be covered under our privacy statement. All information collected through the payment function on www.bscapply.com is owned and controlled by Health Plan Services’ privacy statement.
At times we may enter into co-branded relationships. When we enter into these types of relationships we will share your name and email address in order for our co-branded partners to fulfill payment or registration from new members.
Blue Shield uses a variety of security measures to make sure your information is protected from improper access or use. For example, when collecting, using or transmitting sensitive electronic information, like your personal health information, we encrypt the transmission using Secure Sockets Layer ("SSL") or other similar technology. We also maintain physically secured locations for server operations, use technological safeguards like firewalls and password protection, and limit access to sensitive information to those individuals with a legitimate business need to access it.
You can help us maintain the security of our website and App by using passwords that cannot be easily guessed and by safeguarding them to avoid unwanted disclosure.
Blue Shield follows generally accepted standards to protect the personal information submitted to us, both during transmission and once we receive it. However, no method of transmission over the Internet or method of electronic storage is 100% secure. Therefore, we cannot guarantee its absolute security. If you have any questions about security on our website, you can contact us at 1-800-393-6130.
Link to third parties
To provide you with valuable information, our website and App may have links to third party websites we do not own or control. A link does not mean we approve or endorse a site. We are not responsible for the quality, accuracy, security or privacy practices of sites we do not own. Be sure to read the privacy statement of each site you visit and contact the owners of those sites if you have questions about their information practices.
Social media widgets
Our website includes Social Media features, such as the Facebook Like button, and widgets, such as the Share This button or interactive mini-programs that run on our website. These features may collect your internet protocol address, which page you are visiting on our website, and may set a cookie to enable the feature to function properly. Social Media features and widgets are either hosted by a third party or hosted directly on our website. Your interactions with these features are governed by the privacy statement of the company providing it.
User access and choice
Upon request Blue Shield will provide you with information about whether we hold any of your personal information. If your personal information changes, you may correct, update, or amend your personal information by making the change on your member information page or by contacting Customer Support at 1-800-393-6130. If you no longer desire our services you may request to have your online information deactivated or removed by contacting Blue Shield at 1-800-393-6130. We will respond to your request within a reasonable timeframe.
Blue Shield will retain your information for as long as your information is reasonably useful for commercial purposes. Additionally, Blue Shield will retain and use your information as necessary to comply with our legal obligations, resolve disputes, and enforce our agreements, and for other legally permissible purposes.
If you are a Blue Shield member and you register to access your accounts via our website or the App, you may be given the opportunity to specify how you wish to receive certain types of communications from us, like explanation of benefit forms or newsletters. Commercial emails will include an “unsubscribe” link at the bottom you can use to opt-out of receiving future email messages from us. You may manage your email subscriptions by accessing your Communications Preferences under Manage My Settings on blueshieldca.com. In addition you can call Customer Service at 1-800-393-6130. However, you will continue to receive administrative emails from us, since these are necessary communications that we are legally permitted or required to send to you.
If you email us, please do not include information you want to keep private. This includes information that could be used to identify you. While the email is on its way to us, someone else may intercept or read it. If you see an email address or a link on a Blue Shield website that opens a pre-addressed email, do not use it to send private information.
We do not require you to communicate with us electronically. You may call or mail us a letter if you prefer. You can reach a customer service representative by calling the telephone number on the back of your Blue Shield ID card. Additional contact information is available on our website under “Contact Us,” and under the “Contact Us” section on the Mobile App.
If you have any questions about this Privacy Notice, you can contact the Blue Shield Privacy Office by telephone at (888) 266-8080 (toll free), by sending an e-mail to email@example.com, or by U.S. mail to:
Blue Shield Privacy Office
P.O. Box 272540
Chico, CA 95927-2540
If you have an unresolved privacy or data use concern that we have not addressed satisfactorily, please contact our U.S.-based third party dispute resolution provider (free of charge).
Changes to the privacy notice
We may update this Notice to reflect changes to our information practices. If we make any material changes we will notify you via email or by means of a notice on this website prior to the change becoming effective. We encourage you to periodically review this page for the latest information on our privacy practices. The posted version of the Notice will apply to your use of our website and App.