June 18, 2013 -- Dear ABC News Fixer: Under state law in New Hampshire – where my ex-wife and I both live – after a divorce, the spouse may remain on the health insurance policy of the ex-spouse's employer, for up to three years.
I have 10 months remaining of this three-year maximum.
Recently, my ex-wife's employer changed its health insurance plan to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida.
During a conversation with a representative from BCBS of Florida, I requested that any correspondence regarding my health and health care be kept private from my ex-wife. Most important, I asked that any Explanation of Benefits paperwork be mailed to my personal address only, in order to comply with HIPAA privacy rules.
The rep replied that they would only be able to mail my private health care information to my ex-wife's address, as she is the policyholder.
In the end, the rep did take my address and said she would forward the info to another department, but she wouldn't promise that anything would be done. How can they get away with this? My health care is my personal business, not my ex-wife's.
Thank you for any assistance you may be able to give me!
- Richard Alperin, Newmarket, N.H.
Dear Richard: This was a little baffling, considering the lengths to which most medical providers go to comply with the privacy portion of HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
We took your problem to Florida Blue, as the insurer calls itself in Florida. Company spokesman Mark Wright came back with some good news: Apparently your complaint got the wheels turning because they already had your address in the system and they promise to not send any of your personal medical info to your ex-wife.
We asked Wright whether there's any formal process for others in the same predicament. He said it's handled on a case-by-case basis, and that even though documents typically go to the policyholder's address, that can be changed in circumstances like this.
- The ABC News Fixer
Got a consumer problem? The ABC News Fixer may be able to help. Click here to submit your problem online. Letters are edited for length and clarity.