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OT: Need urgent help with dilemma!

Hopefully my title was clear enough, as I know a lot of people have been having problems with all the off topic threads on here. If you would like to help me with my problem that is not related to weight loss, thank you so much and read on!

I'm 19 years old (yes, another one of those teenagers taking over PT!) and I will be a sophomore in college. I have been living at home this summer after my first year away from home. At the beginning of the summer, I went to the gynocologist because while at school I was sexually active on one occasion. It was a "one night stand" type of thing, a mistake I was ashamed of and regretted. Without going too much into it, it is not how I had expected to lose my virginity, much less how my mother had expected! My parents are extremely religious and conservative and expect me tor remain a virgin until marraige.

Anyway, at the gyno they strongly urged me to get tested for STDs, which I did after making sure that my privacy would be protected. I did use my parents' insurance but I was assured that my parents wouldn't know I was tested for STDs. My tests came back clean.

Fast forward a few months. There was a problem with my bill - for some reason, my insurance didn't go through. I'm not sure what happened. Today I got a letter saying that my bill was delinquent and that they are turning it over to a collection agency. I told my mom about it because I am under her insurance, without really thinking. She then said she would call tomorrow and get to the bottom of it.

Now I am completely freaking out because when she calls to talk about my bill, I am afraid they will tell what the charges are! She did mention that the bill is a "number she doesn't recognize", meaning higher than she expected compared to her own doctor visits. I am so worried she will find out about my STD testing.

Does the doctor's office have an obligation to tell her what I am being charged for, since the insurance is under her name? Or will they protect my privacy and not tell her? They are already closed but I am going to call first thing tomorrow and ask that they protect my privacy as they said they would, but do they have to disclose what they are charging since my mom is paying for it?

I am so scared because it will be the end of my relationship with my mom if she finds out. I am not exaggerating or being dramatic - my parents are extremely religious. While obviously I disagree with them, I still care about them and I don't want them to be upset with me. They are still supporting me whiile I am in college and it is a very real possibility that they will stop supporting me if they find out I've had sex.

Please give me some advice, any of you older and wiser people who know about these things. All I know to do right now is just plead with the doctor's office!


Thu. Aug 2, 8:38pm

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Your doctors are not allowed to tell your parent anything. Nothing. Zip, nada. It is illegal for them to tell her what the charges are for.
Breathe a sigh of relief.


Thursday, August 02, 2007, 8:56 PM

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Call them first thing and warn them that you dont want the info disclosed. That's what I would do.

Thursday, August 02, 2007, 9:14 PM

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it would be a little hard for an insurer to get away with saying "We're charging you for X because it's not covered, but we're not going to tell you what x is- it would make for a great opportunity to scam people. Your doc may not tell- but whether or not your insurer is bound by the same privilege that a doctor is, I'm not so sure about.

They're not likely to say "STD test" they might say lab tests or something- I'd thinkn of some excuse to give your mom as to why you needed a test- be it a yeast infection, throat infection, anemia, whatever...

Thursday, August 02, 2007, 9:20 PM

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Make sure that they know you are over 18. Since you are an adult, it is illegal under HIPAA (a federal act) for them to tell your parents what the charges are for.

Thursday, August 02, 2007, 9:21 PM

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I work in the medical field as a provider in mental health services, different I know but I do believe however that the HIPPA laws cover your confidentiality in this respect. They release information to the insurance provider, but not to your mom. I would ensure i followed up with a phone call however to make sure that the office is very sure that you are totally on top of this and you EXPECT your confidentiality to be guarded. You know how dumb people can be sometimes without realizing it and then your only recourse is to file a compliant that they violated your rights, big deal if your parents cut you off ya know? Be firm, but polite with the billing department in regards to your rights. It is your right to confidentiality. You are over 18, so it should be fine. Check out this website. You might find helpful information. Good luck sweetie. Sex isn't bad~ http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa/

Thursday, August 02, 2007, 9:26 PM

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