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Oregon Senate Passes Patient Privacy Bill

<p>New law would allow bills to be sent to patient, rather than primary policy holder.</p>

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New law would allow bills to be sent to patient, rather than primary policy holder.

The Oregon Senate passed a bill Monday to protect the privacy of patients.

It would require health insurance companies to communicate directly with a patient, instead of with a policy holder.

For example, if a woman wants to get contraception, she can make an appointment with a doctor. But, if she doesn't want her partner to know, and her partner is the primary health insurance policy holder, they could be notified.

“We believe that the patient should be the one who introduces that conversation to the policy holder and that if they don’t want to, that they should still be protected in being able to access good healthcare privately," said Mary Nolan with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon.

The bill passed Oregon’s House of Representatives last month. It has now been adopted by the Senate, 17 votes to 12.

Governor Kate Brown has not said whether or not she will sign it.

California, Washington and Maryland have adopted similar legislation.

Copyright 2015 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Kristian Foden-Vencil is a reporter and producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting. He specializes in health care, business, politics, law and public safety.