CounselorBarb

Individual Counseling, Couples Counseling and Sex Therapy

Insurance: A possible violation of privacy

People ask me all of the time if I accept insurance. The answer is “no”. I have many reasons for this, with most of them centered around my clients’ well-being.

One of the major reasons I don’t accept insurance is that I would need to code you, as my client, with a psychological disorder. This is required by the insurance companies. Yes, I have to not only tell them that you are “crazy”, but what type of “crazy”. But it doesn’t stop there. This diagnosis goes into your permanent medical records, which are supposed to be kept confidential. However, as we know, technology is a lot of wonderful things; secure and confidential not always among those wonderful things. For every password-protected system there is a hacker who has made it his/her personal mission to enter. Just the fact that your records are “out there” places you at additional risk. Not to mention the legal and legitimate searches, which means you could get denied coverage in the future for a “pre-existing condition”. To sum it up, the diagnosis is permanently and centrally recorded, and could therefore be discovered by others.

Yet, even I was surprised to read about CNN’s Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen, who discovered that ALL of her private medical information was actually online! Yep, it was all on the internet! All it took was her social security number, birthday, and address. Right there in black and white was every medical diagnosis and treatment from 2003! According to Dr. Steven Schwaltzberg, associate professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School, “There is more information out there about people than could ever possibly be realized.”

So, my refusal to accept insurance is in great part to help you protect information you may not have known required protection.

For CNN’s full article click here.

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