In early November, Pennsylvania amended its data breach notification law broadening the definition of personal information. The amendment adds “health insurance information” and “medical information” as data elements that could trigger breach notification requirements. Coupled with this addition is a breach notification exception for businesses that are (1) subject to and (2) in compliance with HIPAA’s privacy and security standards. Pennsylvania’s addition of the HIPAA exemption brings the state’s framework in line with the majority of U.S. state data breach notification laws.
The amendment also adds a third new data element: “username or email address in combination with password or security question and answer that would permit access to an online account.” This amendment also brings Pennsylvania law into alignment with other states, such as California, that have a similar definition of personal information.
In practice, the amendment will not significantly affect companies who already maintain incident response programs that address U.S.-wide requirements. The changes are effective in May 2023.