Off to College? A Health Care Tip for Students and Parents
When your child (18 or older) goes off to college, you may be so preoccupied with paying tuition and helping him or her move into the dorm that you overlook one very important fact. By law, your child is an adult!
Under The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), your adult child is entitled to the same privacy protections regarding his or her personal health information that you are. Therefore, you cannot legally access your child’s health care information as you did before he or she turned 18 years old. In order for you to have access to your child’s medical information, he or she must give you written, legal permission.
Therefore, your child needs an Advance Directive for Health Care (ADHC), which is a document that allows your child to name you as his or her agent so that you can make any necessary medical decisions on his or her behalf if he or she is unable or unwilling to do so.
I recommend two hard copies of the ADHC. Your child should have one in his or her dorm room, and you should keep one at home. You should also have an electronic copy of the ADHC in case you need to send it urgently to a physician or emergency room.
The ADHC is an integral part of a comprehensive estate plan, and we provide our clients physical and electronic copies of all estate planning documents. If you have questions or are interested in preparing an estate plan, we at The Becker Law Firm would be happy to help you.