Confidentiality of Health Care Services FAQ
What does the Senate Bill 5889 change?
Washington SB5889 establishes regulation for the confidentiality of insurance communication by health carriers and insurers. This includes supporting an individual’s right to privacy for treatment of sensitive health conditions when the individual is age 13 and older.
What does this mean?
Communications containing protected health information will go directly to the individual who received the care, if they are age 13 or older, rather than to the plan subscriber.
Why is this important?
We recognize the importance of member privacy, and we are committed to keeping health information private for any members, including minors, who might be vulnerable if it were shared.
What is a sensitive health condition?
The Washington law defines sensitive health care services as those for:
- Domestic violence
- Gender-affirming care
- Gender dysphoria
- Mental health
- Reproductive health
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Substance use disorder
What types of communications are impacted by this Bill?
- Bills and attempts to collect payment
- Explanations of benefits (EOB) statements, printed and online
- Notices of contested claims
- Notices of adverse benefits determinations
- Provider name and address, description of services provided and other visit information
- Any written, oral or electronic communications from us that include references to protected health information
- Requests for additional information about a claim
Who is affected by this Bill?
This change in communications affects all members of Washington state-based health insurance plans who are members of fully insured plans (Individual, Small Group and Large Group).
What sorts of communications does this cover?
Per Washington SB5889, this change covers print, digital (online), voice, email and chat communications, including calls to Customer Service that include information about sensitive conditions. Those who have opted-into digital communications online, such as EOBs, will see only member-level information related to financials.
What if a member younger than 13 wants to have information go only to them?
Members younger than 13 can contact us if they want to direct communication to themselves or someone other than the subscriber, as we have constraints on how we may communicate with them.
How do members register for an online account?
We encourage all members 13 or older to register for an online account. Members can do this by going to myuhc.com® and clicking “Register now.”
How is UnitedHealthcare supporting Washing Senate Bill 5889?
- We are directing all communications for all services to the individuals who received the care, if they are 13 or older, and not limiting to only sensitive health conditions.
- Explanation of Benefits sent by UnitedHealthcare have directly been sent to the individual if they are over the age of 12, and that will continue in support of protecting the individual’s right to privacy.
- We are eliminating Health Statements that are distributed to subscribers to protect each covered individual’s right to privacy.
- Information shared on myuhc.com has been updated to support the individual’s right to privacy as well. Claim details, letters, and communications are only available to the individual once they are registered for viewing. Subscribers will still receive information related to the financial information of their plan.
Where can I find out more about the Washington Senate Bill 5889?
More information can be found on the Washington State Legislature website.