California Bill Increases Privacy Protection for Patients with Mental Illness

A report from NPR on September 17, 2013 provided good news to patients who are covered under another person's health insurance. A California Bill awaiting Governor Brown's signature would allow patients to direct an insurance company to send paperwork dealing with some health services to another address, or by a different means altogether, like a cell phone.

This change would allow patients to receive privacy for their health insurance communication even if they are covered under a family member's insurance plan. For example, claim correspondence regarding mental health benefits, substance abuse treatment, or reproductive services could be sent directly to the patient. Additionally, victims of domestic violence would also be able to redirect their health insurer's correspondence.

Insurance claim information may be of particular concern to adults under the age of 26, who are still covered by their parents' insurance under terms of the Affordable Care Act.

California health plans were initially opposed to the measure – citing administrative burden, but are now neutral.

SB 138:

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