I have a son (19 years old) dealing with major depression/anxiety. He has seen one therapist months back, but didn't feel comfortable with him. I want to have him try someone else hoping they can diagnose him. Something that was just brought to my attention that I didn't give any thought to was him having issues in the future getting health coverage because he will be "labeled" and will have to possibly have someone look into his confidential sessions he had with a therapist. I understand that it is better to pay out of pocket for the sessions so that this doesn't affect him in the future. He currently is under my medical coverage and we have a copay for mental health visits. Money does play a factor for us. I do struggle with finances, but I need to get help for my son, but don't want to make the wrong choices for him now that might affect his future. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
I think there are a lot of privacy laws protecting people from having their records opened (like HIPPA). I think you are not required to disclose having been to a therapist or psychologist, and they might not have to (or maybe even be able to) tell someone who comes asking that you were a patient, much less see any private records. I'm almost certain someone would need a legal subpoena to get information like that unless your son signed a written release. You can talk to the therapist beforehand about privacy issues, and make sure you read any documents they want you or your son to sign thoroughly before signing them, to make sure he isn't signing away his privacy. If they refuse to give you a straight answer about your concerns about privacy, see someone else. You can also check with the insurance company what information about your coverage an employer would be able to see. I think you're protected, but I'm not positive. A legal advice line might have some info without you having to hire a lawyer.
Any legal types here who know more about privacy laws want to weigh in?
Yes they cannot make any kind of inquiries as regards a person's psychiatric record unless there is a specific legal reason why. In the meantime it would be worthwhle to find out about what other insurance options there are for now and for your son's future when he might not be covered under your insurance even with co pays.
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