Your daughter is away at college. What if she needs medical treatment, and is hurt to where she cannot make decisions herself. Enter the Health Care Power of Attorney!
HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accessibility Act) was passed by Congress in 1996. Yet almost 20 years later, it remains a mystery to most. The doctor’s office says “I cannot tell you that information because of HIPAA.” Or “Sign this HIPAA release.”
Every adult, and perhaps particularly those who just turned 18, should sign a Health Care Power of Attorney, naming someone else (in this case, the parent) to make health care decisions for them if needed. It doesn’t give anything up, it simply makes sure that you control who is in charge, and eliminates confusion, particularly if the parents are divorced. Which parent should make decisions? What if the parents disagree?
These decisions can range from small to large. The young person is still in charge if they are awake and can make decisions. But if not capable, then the right person is named. And when a person is named to make decisions, they are entitled to all health information related to making that decision.
So the first and most important document is the Health Care Power of Attorney.