Confidential Insurance Coverage for Teenage Abortions
How would you feel if your 13-year-old daughter went to visit the doctor, was referred to Lovejoy Surgicenter for an abortion, and your insurance company paid for it without you ever knowing?
According to an agent of Kaiser Permanente, Kaiser sends patients seeking abortions to Lovejoy and Kaiser covers the cost. At the age of 13 a child is recognized as having a confidential doctor/patient relationship at Kaiser, essentially treating a 13-year-old the same as you would an adult. A Kaiser employee verified the reason the parents wouldn’t receive notification of an insurance claim is based not so much on a written policy as it is just the way their system works. They promote having little or no paperwork for treatment received. If a co-pay is made, there is no reason to send out anything.
Kaiser is unique in that it is not only the insurance provider but the medical provider as well. Some of the other large carriers such as QualMed, Blue Cross and PacifiCare provide the same coverage as Kaiser, but they’re not the medical facility as well. They also believe the issue is between the doctor and patient. They simply pay the bill. However, paperwork is sent with every claim so the parents would eventually receive notification of the abortion, most likely after the fact.
A woman who had just received this information from a friend in a crisis pregnancy was stunned when she received a call from a worker at the local tanning salon. She had just dropped her almost 18-year-old daughter off to go tanning and was being notified her daughter needed a parent’s permission since she wasn’t 18 yet. But a girl that same age and (even much younger) can have an abortion and have it paid for by her parent’s insurance company without them ever knowing.
What can be done about this? If you live in the Portland area, Call Kaiser customer service at 813-2000 or toll free at 1-800-813-2000 for other Oregon areas. Let them know of your concern. If you are outside of Oregon and have Kaiser available in your area, contact their customer service department. If you work at Kaiser you can voice your concerns from within. Ask your own healthcare provider if they offer this same coverage. If so, consider finding one that doesn’t.