While there are many advantages to laws enacted to protect our privacy, sometimes the consequences of these laws create potential problems or cause serious inconvenience. The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, commonly known as HIPAA, is one of those laws.
HIPAA severely restricts the ability of medical professionals to discuss patient details with anyone other than the patient in most cases. This can make it difficult for loved ones to assist with medications, help file insurance claims, or resolve confusion about medical instructions.
As part of a comprehensive estate plan, attorneys at Brady Cobin Law Group, PLLC prepare HIPAA release authorization documents to enable trusted family members or friends to assist with medical needs.
What Happens in North Carolina without HIPAA Authorization?
Many people assume that doctors and other health care professionals are able to communicate with their family members by virtue of the close relationship. Or they assume that release forms they sign at a medical facility will be sufficient to authorize health care providers to share information when needed. However, these assumptions prove false far too often.
Without specific authorization documents of some type, doctors are not allowed to talk to anyone, even a spouse, about your medical condition. While you may have signed a release form at a hospital or doctor’s office, the authority granted is usually quite limited. If you are transferred or receive care from a different provider, the person you authorized may still be left in the dark, unable to learn what is happening and unable to help with insurance and other critical issues.
The situation can be particularly challenging for college students and young adults who are still covered by their parents’ insurance. Older adults with complicated medical needs and insurance issues also usually benefit from having someone who can help avoid conflicts with medical instructions or straighten out billing or insurance problems. But a HIPAA release authorization can be helpful for any adult at any stage of life.
How to Handle a HIPAA Release
Your estate planning attorney can prepare HIPAA authorization release forms to cover your needs in a variety of circumstances. Once the documents are prepared, it is a good idea to ensure that you notify the appropriate people such as:
- Your primary care doctor
- Other doctors you see on a regular basis
- Your health care agent designated in your health care power of attorney
- Any other agents, trustees, or executors named in other estate planning documents
The persons you authorize in the HIPAA release should know where to find a copy of the document if they need it. It is a good idea to store a copy with each copy of your health care power of attorney.
Let a North Carolina Estate Planning Attorney Protect Your Interests with a HIPAA Release
At Brady Cobin Law Group, PLLC, we understand how complicated life can be at times, and we want to reduce the burden on your family whenever possible. During a health care crisis or even routine proceedings, the last thing you want is a delay in receiving care or resolving a problem because loved ones are not permitted to receive critical information.
Let our estate planning attorneys craft a HIPAA release form to provide the right authorization for your unique circumstances so that your family is prepared for the future. Contact us for a confidential consultation to learn how we can help.