Can an insurance provider access my medical records?
Insurance providers cannot access your medical records without your consent. However, if you disclose a mental health problem, the insurance provider will often ask for further information from your doctor. They may also ask you to see an independent doctor that they choose.
In this situation, you have the following rights:
- The insurance company can only contact your doctor if they have your written consent.
- You have the right to see a doctor's report about you before it is sent. This is the same whether it is your own GP or psychiatrist, or an independent doctor that the insurance company have chosen.
- You can stop a report from your regular GP or psychiatrist being sent if you are unhappy with it.
- You can't stop a report being sent if it is from an independent doctor who has never treated you before, even if you disagree with it.
If you refuse to give written consent, refuse to allow your doctor to send their report or refuse to see an independent doctor, an insurance company may decide to refuse to insure you. Unfortunately, this is their legal right and there is nothing you can do about this.
See our legal pages on your personal information for more information about your rights regarding access to your medical records.
This information was published in August 2015. We will revise it in 2018.