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New Law Expands Privacy Protections For Insured Californians

A new law allows Californians who are covered under a parent's or spouse's health plan to keep their medical information private.

Health plans typically communicate with the main policyholder about medical care accessed by family members.

That can be awkward for people who seek birth control or mental health care but a new law aims to prevent that situation.

The Confidential Health Information Act allows individuals to keep their medical information private by submitting a special request to their health plan. That request can be made by phone or in writing.

Amy Moy, vice president of public affairs of the non-profit California Family Health Council, said it’s a timely measure.

“With the Affordable Care Act, more people are moving into health insurance," Moy said. "So with this expanded insured population, we want to make sure that people who have insurance feel safe enough to use it.”

Moy said the prime beneficiaries of the new law are the hundreds of thousands of young adults in California who are covered by their parent's insurance plans, as well as people who live in troubled relationships.

“There are a lot of unfortunate scenarios that happen when individuals who experience domestic violence have information shared or disclosed," Moy said.

Under California law, teenagers have the right to access birth control, abortion services, and mental healthcare without notifying their parents.

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