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Can I keep my parents from learning why I saw the doctor? Consumer Q&A

By on April 6th, 2012
Filed: Advice, Health Insurance, Parents, You, Young Adults

Do parents have access to their children’s health records? When does your health information become private?

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.

Best wishes.

Photo via Flickr user DorkyMum


About Douglas Dalrymple

Doug Dalrymple is a member of the communications team at eHealth, Inc. and has worked in the health insurance and technology industries for fifteen years. He works on communications strategy, content creation and management, project management, and corporate messaging.

4 Comments Add Your Comment

Yvette Pintado on Sunday, April 8 @ 12:53 pm

Im a disable person and lose my husband by death, live from a pension that,s paid for everything and never ask from the gov. for any help and I been apply for the PCIP insurance for almost a year since my husband die and they always reyect my aplication,dont matter all the papers probing my incapacite and all the medical problems,medications letter from the doctor that take care of me. I think IM goin to get crayzy filling the same papers for almost a year without a no medication and treatment been a diabetic, high blood presion ,fibromalgya andhigh colestherol thats life. Maybe after my death they aproved the insurance. DONt work.

Nate P., eHealth on Thursday, May 3 @ 8:59 am

I’m so sorry you’re having trouble. I would encourage you to reach out to the Foundation for Health Coverage Education – http://www.coverageforall.org – if you’re having trouble getting into a pre-existing condition insurance plan. They’re a tremendous resource and a long-time partner of ours.

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