Does your Estate Plan include a HIPAA Release?

A critical part of estate planning is to have advance health care directives in place. An advance directive is a legal document stating your directions and wishes as to your future medical and health care, in the event you become unable to make those decisions yourself.

Types of advance directives are:

In conjunction with your health care directives, it is important to have a signed and witnessed document called a HIPAA Release form. Without this document, your health care providers may not legally be able to disclose critical medical information to the person you have chosen to make health care decisions for you, should you become incapacitated.

What Is HIPAA?

HIPAA is an Act of Congress, its full name being The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It is a federal law that limits who can view your medical information.

The accountability part of this Act means that your doctors, pharmacists, nursing homes, insurance companies, and other health care professionals are bound by law to totally protect and secure your health and medical information. They must refrain from the unauthorized disclosure of what is called your “personal health information.”

This information includes:

  • Any information that can be used to identify you (name, address, social security number, telephone number, patient account number)
  • Anything about your physical or mental medical condition and treatment
  • Billing and payment records

HIPAA Release and Your Estate Plan

HIPAA actually limits everyone’s access to your medical records. This can even include your spouse, your parents and your children. Without question, your estate planning documents need to include a HIPAA Release.

HIPAA regulations affect your Living Will, your Health Care Surrogate, and certain Powers of Attorney and Trusts—where access to medical and health care information may be required.

As part of your comprehensive estate plan, I will incorporate all necessary HIPAA authorization and release documentation, to ensure that your designated family members or health care agents will be able to access your medical records.

If you already have health care documents or advance directives prepared, are you sure you have a HIPAA Release? Estate plans prepared several years ago may not contain the HIPAA language.

I would be happy to review your documents in order to make certain the proper authorization and releases are in good order. Please call us today for an appointment – (407) 478-8700.

Learn more about HIPAA by attending one a Free Live Workshops.