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Biss passes plan to safeguard domestic violence victims' health information

Insurance companies must honor a request to send claims info to a different address

biss0515SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) secured passage today of legislation requiring health insurance companies to accommodate any reasonable request to keep a covered individual's health information confidential when disclosure could endanger the person.

"When people threatened by domestic violence are covered by their abusers' health insurance, they are vulnerable whenever they obtain medical care," Biss said. "It's my hope that this legislation will remove barriers keeping people in abusive situations from seeking treatment."

House Bill 3300 requires an insurance company, upon request, to protect an endangered patient's privacy by sending claims-related information to a different address or by alternative means. It also prohibits the insurance company from disclosing medical or personal information to the policyholder when a request has been made. The company can require the insured person to state in writing that disclosure could threaten his or her safety or that of a dependent child.

The measure was approved by both chambers without opposition and now awaits the governor's signature.