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Kokua Line

Health insurance companies can ask about child’s history

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» An earlier version had an incorrect ZIP code for the Honolulu Medical Group.


Question: Regarding the new health care plans, what information are insurance companies allowed to ask about young adults who are being added to their parents’ health insurance policies? My insurance company is asking for a great deal about what should be confidential health information and my concern is that they may be using it to screen out pre-existing conditions. What legally can or cannot insurance companies do?

Answer: They can ask about your child’s medical record and even ask for a claims history, according to the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ Insurance Division.

However, under the new Affordable Care Act, beginning this September, health insurers cannot deny coverage under their parents’ policies for children under age 19 with pre-existing conditions.

That restriction will extend to adult children under age 26 beginning in 2014, according to the Insurance Division.

Basically, insurers can still ask the medical questions, but they cannot deny coverage based on the answers beginning this year for dependents under 19 and beginning in 2014 for older patients.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is expected to eventually formulate rate rules regarding the degree insurance premiums can vary based on age.

For more information, go to and click on "Understanding the New Law."

Question: Regarding Honolulu Medical Group and paying to obtain your medical record in yesterday’s Kokua Line: If they are going to destroy those records, why not just give the original to the people concerned, perhaps for a nominal fee rather than charging for printing services?

Answer: Former patients will receive an electronic copy — on a disk — and/or the original of their paper records, depending on when they were patients of the Honolulu Medical Group, said attorney James Wagner.

Paper records prior to 1995 were not digitized, so are not be available on a disk, he explained. "From 1995 forward, it’s all digital."

If you were a patient for the past 20 years, for example, you will receive both the original paper record and a digital disk.

As for the $42 price, it reflects the cost of hiring a third party to handle calls, pull records from the storage company, make digital copies and mail records as well as notices, Wagner said.

He also wanted to clarify that the July 11 date noted as the date all unclaimed records will be destroyed refers to July 11, 2011. Records have not yet been disposed of, he emphasized.

In addition to ordering a medical record online, you can obtain a request form by writing to Honolulu Medical Group, P.O. Box 37321, Honolulu HI 96837.


John P. Gallagher of the Hawaiian Astronomical Society is trying to reach teachers and other interested parties who have scheduled a "star party."

The nonprofit organization is "deeply saddened by the passing" of its longtime School Star Party coordinator and is trying to establish a new point of contact, he said.

"Teachers who have a confirmed and scheduled star party have already been contacted," Gallagher said. "If you have not been contacted yet, we need you to resubmit your request."

New requests can be made through a special website: For more information, e-mail Gallagher at


Write to "Kokua Line" at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or e-mail


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