How to Keep Things Confidential
If you’re interested in receiving confidential services, here are a few recommendations:
- Make it clear to your clinician that you want your visits to be confidential Let the clinic staff know that you would like your services to be confidential when you make an appointment. Ask your clinician to contact you directly instead of speaking with your parents, and ask that they update your contact information so they can get in touch with you directly, rather than through your parents. Your clinician may encourage you to speak with your parents or guardians about your health. However, they should also be able to provide you services without involving your parent or guardian.
- Get in touch with your insurance provider:
If you have insurance, it will usually pay some or all of your healthcare expenses. But if your insurance is under your parent or guardian, confidentiality may be a little trickier.
Most insurance companies will send a statement, or explanation of services, after you see a health care provider to your parent or guardian. However, you have the right to request that the statements are sent to a different address or not at all.
These steps may be helpful for requesting that your insurance statement be sent directly to you:
- Find your insurance card. It will provide your health insurance plan information including your member or subscriber ID and possibly a plan number or code. Usually on the back of the card, there should be a customer service phone number.
- Do not hesitate to call the customer service line to ask about their confidentiality policies and options. This will help you understand how your insurance works. Let the customer service agent know that you are seeking confidential services and that you want to know what can be done to help maintain your privacy. The customer service agent should explain your options and the cost of the services your are seeking. The more information you can provide to the customer service agent, the more they will be able to help you. Don’t be shy in asking questions and explaining your concerns. The customer service line is there to help you.
- Find a clinic that will offer low-or-no-cost services for teens: Despite all of these efforts, it is still possible that your insurance company may accidentally inform your parents or guardian about the sexual health services you received. If this is a major concern for you, you can find clinics that offer free or low cost services for teens without using insurance through our clinician finder.
- Talk with your Parent or Guardian:
Keep in mind that your parents may be more supportive than you think about your desire to see a clinician for sexual health services. Studies have shown that parents are relieved when their teen asks to talk about sex and sexual health. Sometimes parents want to talk with you about it but don’t know how to bring up the topic. This page has some tips for starting the conversation with your parents, like:
- Choosing the right time to talk, when they’re relaxed and not doing something important
- Pick up on cues as to whether or not they would like to talk to you about sex, and if they are not willing, go to another trusted adult figure or Planned Parenthood
- Tell them you want to talk about sex, that you know it’s important and you want to take it seriously