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Chapter 5. PRIVACY IN PUBLIC > AT THE DOCTOR'S OFFICE

AT THE DOCTOR'S OFFICE

Testing Can Be Hazardous to Your Health Insurance

The Annoyance:

I'm thinking about getting tested for HIV. But I'm reluctant to go to my regular doctor, because I'm afraid my insurance coverage could be cancelled if the test is positive. Do I need to worry?

The Fix:

You might. The test results will become part of your medical record, which can be shared with a wide range of entities under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (see "Getting Hip to HIPAA"). If you pay for the doctor visit using private health insurance, that information is almost certainly going to end up in medical databases and follow you the rest of your life. The very fact that you had the test, even if it turned out negative, may be a flag to some insurers that you are high risk.


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