Navigating Privacy and Confidentiality

You Deserve the Right to Privacy When it Comes to Your Health

Often, privacy concerns can lead students to avoid or delay seeking the care they need. Many students report avoiding “sensitive services” such as mental health counseling, sexual and reproductive health services, substance use treatment, and supportive services for sexual assault survivors out of fear that someone may find out -- especially if they are under someone else’s insurance plan.

 

The purpose of this page is to outline some resources you can use to keep your health information confidential.

  • Terms to Know:

  • Dependent: A dependent relies on someone else for their primary source of income.

    Policyholder: A policyholder is the person who owns the insurance policy. This person can make and see changes in the insurance plan, including which services have been received under the plan.

    Explanation of benefits (EOB): A statement sent to the policyholder that includes information about services received under the plan, as well as information such as patient name, total billed, the amount covered by the insurance plan, and the amount that is still owed.

    Confidential Communication Request (CCR): This prevents your insurance provider from sending EOBs and communications related to billing to the insurance policyholder by sending them to the person who actually received the services.

    -If you submit a CCR, you can request that your EOB be sent by email so that you do not have to worry about mail arriving at the policyholder’s address

    -You can also request an electronic EOB from SHIP after an appointment at Student Health & Counseling Services (SHCS)

    Open Notes Law: This law, which went into effect earlier this year (2021), mandates that healthcare providers give patients easy access to many parts of their electronic health record. This law allows for transparency between providers and patients, and can lead to open dialogue about the care being provided. 

    UC Davis Health Equity Fund: The Health Equity Fund is a grant that provides students with financial assistance between $50 and $2500 if they are facing significant out-of-pocket expenses or privacy-related barriers to accessing medical or mental health care. 

  • How to Complete a Confidential Communication Request: 

  • California law (SB 138) requires that all insurance companies honor CCR requests. If you have health insurance based outside of California, they should still be required to accept your CCR under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

     

    You can contact your insurance company to fill out a CCR by email, phone, or mail. You can explain to your insurance company that the CCR is important because, for example:

    -Sharing your private healthcare information could lead to harm - you don’t have to explain why!

    -You are receiving “sensitive services” such as those for mental health, sexual and reproductive health, substance use treatment, or supportive services for sexual assault survivors 

     

    Steps for Completing a CCR:

    1. Download the CCR form.

    2. Complete the fields on the CCR form. You can include the email address, phone number and mailing address at which you would like to be contacted.

    3. Contact your health insurance company and explain that you would like to submit a CCR so that your parents/guardians/spouse do not receive information about healthcare services you receive. You will need to give them your name and policy number.

    ---If you have UC SHIP: contact Anthem Customer Service at (866) 940-8306

    ---If you have a different insurance plan: call the toll-free number listed on your insurance card.

    4. Ask how they would like you to submit the form to them (e.g., by email, fax or mail). 

    5. Submit your CCR form according to instructions provided by your insurance company

    6. Follow up by calling them in 1-2 weeks to make sure your CCR was processed

     

    You can visit My Health, My Info for more information on patient privacy and submitting a CCR. 

FAQs About Receiving Care at SHCS

  • How has the Health-e-Messaging portal changed?
  • If you haven’t logged into your Health-e-Messaging portal lately, it may look a little different to you. You can now see some visit notes, x-rays and lab results dated from July 1, 2021 forward. To request earlier medical or counseling records, please contact the Release of Health Information department
  • How can I keep my online health notes private?
  • Here are a few basic actions that you can take to protect your privacy:
    -Do not share your Kerberos/CAS passwords with anyone.
    -If your parents/guardians demand your passwords, consider limiting Duo access to only one device so that you can monitor activity in your portal.
    -Talk to your provider during your visit about any privacy concerns you may have so that you can explore options around keeping notes for a certain visit private.
  • What shows up on MyBill after an appointment at SHCS?
  • A charge titled “Student Health Fee” will show up on MyBill. However, no information about the type of care received will be provided. Anyone who has access to your MyBill will be able to view the fees.
  • My parents/guardians have my Kerberos/CAS password. What will they be able to see on Health-e-Messaging (HeM)?
  • Anyone who has your HeM login information and password will be able to see more detailed information, such as appointment dates, lab results and message history with your providers. They can also access your medical provider’s notes for particular visits.

  • Can I receive services at SHCS without them showing up on MyBill?
  • Yes! If you pay out of pocket (i.e., with cash, check or money order) at the time of the appointment, there will not be a charge listed on MyBill. Any student can opt to pay out of pocket, regardless of insurance plan. If you have SHIP, make sure to tell a staff member in Registration that you would like to pay out of pocket and do not want to bill SHIP.

  • If my Health Equity Fund application is approved, will there be a statement listed on my insurance?
  • No. However, your 1098-T form (a tax form) will include the financial assistance received. This form will not list services accessed through the financial assistance. Find more Health Equity Fund FAQs on our website.

Navigating Privacy Concerns with Parents/Guardians

Conversations related to privacy can be hard to navigate. All families are different, and many times privacy is not a topic that is up for debate. If you would like to facilitate open communication about privacy concerns with your parents, here are some statements you can use below to help set boundaries and start conversations: 

  • “It makes me uncomfortable when you check my statements without my permission. In the future, could you come to me directly with any questions you have?”
  • “I feel like you are not respecting my health privacy. Can we talk about establishing boundaries regarding my medical and mental health care?”
  • “I feel like I cannot get adequate care and be honest with my medical and mental health providers because I know you check my medical bills and history. I appreciate that you are concerned about my health, but I would like to establish some boundaries.”

Alternatively, if a parent/guardian discovers a fee on MyBill and inquires about the type of service you received, you could always reference products in our pharmacy as the reason for your visit.

Resources: