I am separated from my husband, and covered on his health insurance. He is living in the house, and I have an apartment. I have a chronic illness that has taken a turn for the worse. I don’t want him to know; for fear that he will use it to get full custody of our kids. I don’t want him to get anything from the health plan that would tell him what’s going on with my health. Can I refuse to use my health insurance at my doctor’s office?
Putting on a Healthy Front
Dear Putting on a Healthy Front,
Yes, you can refuse to use your health insurance. You can ask the care provider to bill you and not your health insurance. Since you have a chronic illness, I am assuming that you have a regular doctor and he or she has your ID number on file. You will have to go to great effort to stop their usual process; all of their systems are geared to bill the insurer – the same way they have done in the past. Your best bet is to pay for your visit before you leave the office; this may prevent your bill from going into the normal insurance process.
You will only be able to keep this information away from your husband temporarily. It will become obvious to him and everyone else, as your health deteriorates. Or the bills for your care will become more than you can handle. It seems like a better strategy to resolve your marital status and the children’s custody. To forego your health insurance benefit seems like an expensive way to keep a secret.