A HIPAA authorization permits you to name individuals to have access to your medical information and records.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was enacted by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996. Title I of HIPAA protects health insurance coverage for workers and their families when they change or lose their jobs. Title II of HIPAA, known as the Administrative Simplifications (AS) provisions, among other things addresses the security and privacy of health data.
We all have a right to privacy of our medical records. No one is allowed to get any medical information without our consent. However, there may be times when a family member or close friend may need to access your medical records and you are not able to give consent. For example, if you had a surgical procedure and something happened during the surgery that put you in a coma, your family would want to access your medical records to determine if the hospital staff or doctor did something wrong. Without your consent, your family will need to go through the legal process to obtain these records. In this example, you are not able to give consent. Signing a HIPAA Authorization allows you to name an individual or individuals to have access to your medical records and other medical information, without having to go through any court process or hiring an attorney just to get the records.
As you can see, it is important to have the proper documents in order for your estate. Working with a qualified estate planning attorney is necessary to make sure things are prepared properly to relieve any concerns you might have.
Want more information on what's included in an Estate Plan? Read our article, Estate Planning 101.