Washington State privacy bill

We’re committed to keeping health information private for all of our members, including minors, who might be vulnerable if this information were shared. Starting in January, we’ll change how we communicate information about members’ care. As part of a new Washington state law—Washington Senate Bill 5889—communications about sensitive conditions will go only to the member receiving care, if they are age 13 or older.

What is a sensitive condition?

Sensitive conditions are defined as:

  • Domestic violence
  • Gender-affirming care
  • Gender dysphoria
  • Mental health
  • Reproductive health
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Substance use disorder

What types of communication does this affect?

Communications about treatment for sensitive conditions—including explanation of benefits (EOB) statements and claims communications—will go to the person who received the care if they are age 13 or older. This also includes digital communications, as well as voice, chat or email communications with Customer Service. Members age 13 and older will now receive these communications directly.

We strongly encourage all members age 13 and over to set up a regence.com account to view EOB statements, claims and other communications. Even if the member has authorized access or has enabled family sharing for their online account, no one other than the member will see digital communications about sensitive conditions. This includes EOB statements.

Can you give an example of this situation?

Let’s say you’re a parent who calls Customer Service, and you have a question about your 14-year-old child’s medication for anxiety. Starting Jan. 1, 2020, you will not be able to receive any information unless your child has authorized our customer service professionals to share it. Anxiety is considered a sensitive condition because it falls under mental health care.

How do members give authorization for access to their information?

If a member, such as a dependent age 13 or older, wishes to have their information shared with a parent or other trusted individual, they can submit a form that allows their sensitive information to be shared (by mail or Customer Service). Here is the form for authorization to disclose protected health information. This form authorizes disclosure for two years and would need to be resubmitted when that time expires or can be withdrawn if a member wishes to stop sharing information before the two years expire.

Another form that might be helpful is the Washington non-disclosure request form, which allows a member to protect all their health information, regardless of whether it refers to sensitive conditions. This form lets the member provide an alternative address and contact information when communicating with Regence about protected health information. If you’d prefer, you can download and print the non-disclosure request form.

Members under age 13 should contact Customer Service if they wish to limit communications about sensitive conditions, as there are greater constraints on the avenues of communication that may be used with them.

Need more information?

If you still have questions or need help, read our FAQ. You can also call Customer Service at the number on the back of your member ID card. Or, sign in at regence.com and use Live Chat.