How NJ Health Insurance Providers Pressure Psychologists for Patient Info

Armen Hareyan's picture
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In New Jersey, the question of doctor-patient confidentiality in therapy session looks all but vanished. Health insurance companies, claims the New Jersey Psychological Association, are repeatedly demanding patient information in exchange for wages. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and Magellan Health Services are the health insurance providers in question.

Under normal circumstances, patients are treated in complete and utter confidentiality and patients are reimbursed for the services by their respective health insurance provider. However, in New Jersey, patients enrolled in New Jersey’s State Health Benefits Program through Horizon or Magellan are allegedly subject to having their confidential records examined as a pre-requisite for treatment, whether ongoing or in the beginning stages.

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The practice violates patient confidentiality rights covered under the New Jersey Practicing Psychology Licensing Act. Currently, the 2,100 psychologist belonging to the New Jersey Psychological Association (NJPA) are issuing the lawsuit in hopes to uncover the unfair practices. These practices can severely slow a patient’s progress and even worsen any mental conditions.

The state’s State Health Benefits Program was created by the New Jersey State Health Benefits Commission and is the largest of its kind in the state. It currently provides benefit for 800,000 public employees and their families. Horizon and Magellan are responsible for administering the program and issuing payments and credits.

The lawsuit was filed two months ago, but was officially announced Tuesday in accordance with the launch of the website speakyourmindnj.org. The site caters to people affected by the breach in confidentiality. While the health insurance providers deny the charges, the current action will most likely result in new laws.

Source: NorthJersey.com State House Bureau

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