Should insurers mail young adults their EOBs?

With the popularity of the Affordable Care Act's provision allowing young adults to stay on their parents' health plan until they're 26 comes an unintended consequence for some members: invasion of privacy. That's because insurers still mail all health plan communications about the young adult to their parents, who are the official policyholders, reported The Atlantic.

The ACA's young adult provision has allowed more than 7 million adults between 19 and 25 years old to remain insured through their parents' plans. Now, some of those young adults are asking that they receive all coverage information, including explanation of benefits, but should insurers honor those requests?

"In my situation, I think I should get everything, not them," Kristen Church, a 24-year-old who lives near Indianapolis and is on her father's insurance, told the magazine. "I'm responsible for the bills, so why don't I get everything?"

Young women--45 percent of whom were insured through their parents' plans last year--are especially concerned, particularly if they have different reproductive health views than their parents.

Even non-medical paperwork can provide enough information for parents to discern the type of medical visit, especially if it involves an issue with "reproductive health services, mental health services, [and] other services that this group may want to keep private," Alina Salganicoff, director of women's health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, told The Atlantic.

But although some young adults want insurers to send EOBs and other documents directly to them, most insurers aren't obligated to honor those requests. The one exception is California, which became the first state last year to require that health plans honor members' "confidential communication requests."

Although privacy is a concern for some young adults, a June study found that among younger enrollees who stayed on their parents' coverage under the ACA, inpatient visits for mental health issues have expanded, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

To learn more:
- read The Atlantic article