Estate Planning

Medical power of attorney for a child going to college, is it important?

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This article talks about the importance of a medical power of attorney for a child going to college, it also talks about HIPAA waiver for college students. This is not legal advice. If you need assistance, please schedule a free consultation.

Medical Power of Importance for a Child going to College, is it important?

Congress passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) in 1996. Among many things, this Act requires the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) to publish national standards for the electronic exchange, privacy, and security of personal information.

The HHS’s Privacy Rule attempts to strike a balance that allows for the lawful exchange of data but also protects the privacy of individuals who entrust third parties with their information. You may have been asked by a health care provider to sign a “HIPAA Waiver” in the past. This form would authorize the provider to share your information with other parties, such as insurance companies or family members you designate.

Upon turning age 18, your children are deemed adults. Unless your 18+ children execute a HIPAA waiver authorizing the release of information to you, it is unlikely that hospitals or medical providers will release information about your child to you over the telephone.

Additionally, a medical power of attorney for a child aged 18 or more would likely be required for you to authorize medical treatment over the telephone. As an adult, you likely have in place a medical power of attorney for yourself. After turning 18 years old and becoming a legal adult, your son or daughter should also execute a medical power of attorney for a child granting you as parent the authority to authorize medical treatment for them in the event of an emergency.

Video Transcript:  The importance of a medical power of attorney for a child going to college.

Congratulations, your daughter turns 18 and she is off to college.  What do you need to do (aside form writing checks) to continue helping her as a parent?  Critically, you need to get some legal documents in place, the most important among them are a HIPAA waiver and a healthcare or medical power of attorney.  Let’s take a look at an example.

She is off to college, you get a phone call in the middle of the night:  “This is County Hospital.  Your daughter has been admitted as a patient.”  Your first question will be: “What happened?"  If the hospital is following the federal HIPAA privacy law, they are going to tell you to fax in her HIPAA waiver where she grants you authority for you to get her information and, second, the hospital will may ask you for a medical power of attorney, where your daughter authorizes you to make medical decisions on her behalf.

This is a real example that happens every day.  If you have a son or a daughter who is going off to college next year, please come in and speak with an attorney to find out how to get the documents in place so legally you can continue helping as a parent after your child is an adult.

If you need legal assistance, please schedule a free consultation today.  Our attorneys practice Estate Planning law and look forward to working with you. 

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Reading our blog creates no attorney-client relationship. We are Tax Lawyers who also practice Estate Planning Law. Picture courtesy of Vasily Koloda for Unsplash.

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