Massachusetts

In 2017, Health Care for All (HCFA) launched an advocacy campaign to ensure that patient-provider confidentiality is upheld by health plans in their state with a particular focus on protecting the safety of individuals seeking often-stigmatized care, including reproductive and sexual health, or those living in domestic violence situations. With the Protecting Access to Health Care (PATCH) Alliance, HCFA successfully advocated with the Massachusetts Department of Insurance (DOI) and Department of Public Health for guidance that will ensure that patient confidentiality is protected by insurance companies across the state. In 2018, HCFA will turn their efforts to focus on the successful implementation of the bulletin. Supported by the National Institute, HCFA and its partners in the Preserving Access to Confidential Health Care Alliance advocated in 2015 for confidentiality protections in health insurance carriers’ summary of payments forms, under development by the Massachusetts Division of Insurance. To secure these essential protections, HCFA worked with lawmakers to introduce Massachusetts Senate Bill 2081, and conducted a robust advocacy campaign to secure support from legislators and stakeholders. The bill passed favorably out of the Health Care Financing Committee before the end of the legislative session.  If it is ultimately enacted, strengthened confidentiality measures will be used by all private insurers in Massachusetts, improving access to sensitive health care services for a range of health care consumers.