Can I keep my parents from learning why I saw the doctor? Consumer Q&A
These are questions that many teens – and many parents – worry about. A federal law known as “HIPAA” places some restrictions on parental access to children’s health records, but the age at which a child’s health records become their private concern can vary from state to state.
It’s not only a concern for teens, however. The 2010 health reform law lets adult children retain coverage under a parent’s plan until they turn 26. If you’re covered under the same plan as your parents, how can you keep your medical information private?
Recently on Yahoo Answers we took a question from an 18-year-old (almost 19) who wanted to get counseling services but didn’t want her father to know about it. She thought that ordering her own insurance card from the insurance company might help. Would that help keep her medical information private?
The eHealthInsurance reply was voted Best Answer:
You can contact the health insurance company and ask them to issue you a card. Keep in mind, however, that not all insurance plans cover therapy and that when services are rendered an “explanation of benefits” (from the insurance company) and bills (from the doctor’s office) will still be sent to your father.
It’s not legal for a medical provider to tell your father what kinds of services are being rendered to you, but it may be possible for him to piece things together if he sees the name of the doctor or counselor on the statements and then looks them up online.
If you have some income and want to be sure to preserve your privacy, see if your employer offers health insurance or look into buying coverage on your own when you’re 19 (it’s hard in some states to find it when you’re younger than 19). You can get free quotes from licensed agents online.
Photo via Flickr user DorkyMum