All about medical releases
Federal law requires medical providers to keep individuals’ health information private. Medical providers can only disclose your health information if you authorize the medical provider to release that information. The authorization is called a medical release and may be referred to as a HIPAA release.
HIPAA is the acronym for the federal law that includes the privacy rule. It stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. The portion of the law that deals with keep health information private is called the Privacy Rule.
When you make an injury claim to a wrongdoer’s insurance company, the insurance company will require documentation. Specifically, the insurance company will require your medical records and bills. Insurance companies offer to request your medical records and bills for you (isn’t that nice), but must have your authorization first. So, the insurance company sends you a medical release they want you to sign and send back to them.
Here, the devil is in the details (or fine print) of the medical release the insurance company will send you. Most people believe that the insurance company will only request their health records and bills that are related to the collision. No one wants random people combing through their medical history. However, insurance companies may not limit the medical release. Often, the insurance company will want you to sign a medical release that allows them to get your complete medical history, even records from five, ten, or even twenty years ago. Their medical release acts as a blank check into your health history.
The solution is gather your medical records yourself or through your lawyer. If you hire a lawyer, your law firm will request these medical records as a part of their representation. Sometimes, the insurance company will require additional medical records for three to five years before the collision. Our firm evaluates these requests for reasonableness and then requests these records for our clients.
The bottom line is to avoid signing a blank check authorization for the insurance company to comb through your entire medical history. If you have any questions regarding medical releases, please call me.
If you have been hurt in a car accident: