It's a good thing because your information is private and no one - Not even your agent - should be able to willy-nilly talk to a third party. It's a bad thing because when you want quick answers, there are none, and everyone must have a special written consent to help you.
I was very frustrated with this law, because my whole career was centered around helping my clients, then came HIPAA, and slowly, over the last 10 years, information became very restricted, my efforts were strangled and my ability to help; limited. But alas, Christie Aschwanden, of the Washington Post, has given credence to the law, and you can see how important all the secrecy is by reading her article: How to protect yourself from medical identity fraud. It's a god read and you will u n d e r s t a n d.