When is Confidential Information No Longer Confidential?

What Teens Need to Know

When is Confidential Information No Longer Confidential?

In certain situations, a health care provider may not be able to keep certain information confidential. These situations include:

  • When the law requires reporting or disclosure
    • Suspected child abuse must be reported to the State Central Register
    • Cases of syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV must be reported to county and/or state departments of health
  • When someone is a danger to themselves or someone else


Jose, who is 16, receives treatment for a sexually transmitted infection. Because of the type of treatment, he does not need parental consent and the care is confidential. He decides to pay for the treatment by using his parents’ insurance plan. Will information about his treatment be disclosed to his parents through the billing process?


Possibly. The health care provider cannot disclose the information to Jose’s parents. However, there is a risk of disclosure through the insurance process. They should ask the insurance company about its notification procedures. By doing so, both the patient and health care provider can identify and respond to any risks.