Oftentimes, when people ask whether they should sign a HIPAA authorization, they’re handling an accident claim themselves. An insurance company adjuster contacted them and said, “In order for us to evaluate your claim, we need you to sign this HIPAA authorization.” Should you sign it? Seems reasonable right? Well, not exactly.
HIPAA is a law that was passed by Congress and it did a number of things, but one of the important things it did was protect and keep confidential your medical information, including your medical records. What this means is that in order for the insurance company or adjuster that you’re talking to, to get your medical records, they need you to sign that authorization, and your medical provider is not going to give them your medical records without an authorization.
Problem with HIPPAs in accident injury case
One of the problems that I notice in signing a HIPAA authorization is that the insurance companies often write them very broadly. They’ll go to as many medical providers as they can to get all your medical records. They will get things that are unrelated to the injury for your claim.
Once the insurance company collects all your medical records, they’ll comb through it very carefully and look for reasons to limit or deny your injury claim. It’s not uncommon for them to find something from two years earlier that is not related yet they use it as a way to reduce the amount that they think your claim is worth. That’s why most attorneys, if you talk to them, will advise you not to sign a HIPAA authorization or at least consult with an attorney before you do.
Alternative to signing a HIPAA after an accident
As an alternative to signing the authorization, you can get the medical records on your own and then compile them and give them to the insurance company. That way you know what’s being provided and you’re not giving things that are not related or irrelevant. This is what most attorneys do if the claim is being made before filing a lawsuit.
There may be other situations where you do want to sign that HIPPA authorization, right now, I’m just talking about when you’re negotiating or discussing an injury claim with an insurance company or an adjuster.
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