For Consumers

Health information and your privacy

Sometimes you need to keep your personal health information private, such as when your health insurer sends you an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) statement after you’ve visited the doctor. The EOB shows what your medical provider charged for the visit and the services, what your insurer allowed and paid, and what you may owe out-of-pocket.

By law (leg.wa.gov), your health plan can't disclose your information if:

  • You tell them in writing that it could put your safety at risk; or
  • It's related to reproductive issues, sexually-transmitted diseases, substance use disorder or mental health services.

Who this law impacts

  • Anyone under age 18
  • Young adults up to age 26 who are covered by their parents' health plan
  • People experiencing abuse from other family members covered on the health plan

Privacy for anyone under age 18

Under Washington state law, if you're age 18 and old enough to consent to your own health care services, your health plan should not release any personal health information about those services, unless you tell them in writing it's OK. This includes:

  • Mailing bills or EOBs to a policyholder or other covered people
  • Calling the home to confirm appointments
  • Mailing appointment notices