New Calif. Law Aims To Protect Patients’ Sensitive Health Information

A new state law (SB 138) that went into effect on Jan. 1 allows individuals covered by another person’s health plan to submit requests to insurers to keep certain medical information private, KPBS reports (Goldberg, KPBS, 1/6).

Details of Law

Under the Confidential Health Information Act, by Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), individuals who believe that the disclosure of certain health information “could lead to harm or harassment” can submit confidential communication requests for “sensitive services,” such as:

-Birth control prescriptions;
-Mental health care; and
-Sexually transmitted infection tests (Gold, “Morning eHealth,” Politico, 1/5).

The requests can be made over the phone or in writing (KPBS, 1/6).

According to a statement from the California Family Health Council, the new law is intended to “close loopholes in existing state and federal laws that result in breaches in patient confidentiality through Explanation of Benefits letters” and other communications with insurers (“Morning eHealth,” Politico, 1/5).

Amy Moy, vice president of public affairs at CFHC, said the law likely will most affect young adults who are covered by a parent’s health plan and individuals who are in “troubled” relationships (KPBS, 1/6).

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