In the course of applying for Statutory Accident Benefits, you may be asked to submit an OCF-5. This form is otherwise known as the Permission to Disclose Health Information.
Disclosing your health information may have an unintended effect on your accident claim, including the loss or reduction of certain benefits. Ensure you understand what is involved in the OCF-5 before completing and submitting this form to your insurance company. Below are four tips to help you properly complete this document.
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Tip 1 – Do not submit an OCF-5 unless asked to do so.
The Permission to Disclose Health Information form will be included in the Application for Accident Benefits Package sent to you by your insurance company. They will send you these documents when you notify them of your accident within seven days of the incident. Its inclusion in the package does not mean you must include the document in your completed application.
Do not complete and submit an OCF-5 unless the insurance company specifically asks you to do so. Ask your insurance representative which records the company requires and why it needs them. The request from the insurance company should be limited to only relevant documentation relating to the accident. This can include some but not all pre-accident records.
We advise our clients that if an OCF-5 is requested, contact a lawyer immediately, as a lawyer will generally obtain only the relevant medical documentation that is required for your claim.
Tip 2 – Understand what is involved in the OCF-5.
The OCF-5 grants the insurance company access to your medical records. It does so by granting permission to your healthcare provider to disclose such information to an insurer, social worker or vocational rehabilitation expert.
Note that this document does not grant your insurance company the permission to conduct an independent medical examination. You must grant that authorization in a separate document.
Unfortunately, some medical practitioners do not read the OCF-5 form carefully and inadvertently forward your entire medical chart. This could end up prejudicing your claim.
Tip 3 – Specify which dates are included in the disclosure.
Do not grant unlimited access to your full medical history when submitting an OCF-5. Instead, specify the dates for which you are granting access for review. For instance, you may include the date of the accident up to the present. This limits the insurance provider’s authority to examine your medical history for pre-existing conditions or other information. An insurance company can use such details to diminish or deny a claim for benefits.
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Tip 4 – Hire a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
The request for your medical history may signal a problem with your claim for benefits. It underscores the need to consult a personal injury lawyer. He or she can examine the details of your case and Application for Accident Benefits to determine any potential roadblocks or shortcomings in your claim.
A lawyer also can serve as your advocate. This may include acting as a point of contact with the insurance company. Your lawyer can communicate with your insurance provider to learn why it is requesting your medical records and ensure it gains access only to those records that are applicable to your case.
You may download a PDF of the OCF-5: Permission to Disclose Health Information to gain a better understanding of the document. Before you submit the form, however, you may wish to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer in Ontario. Call 1-800-JUSTICE® to learn more about your rights.