HIPAA: An Overview for Young Adults

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Why Young Adults Need HIPAA

The Federal Insurance Portability Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA for short) protects private medical information from being released without a patient’s consent. Do you know why young adults need a HIPAA once they turn eighteen? Don’t worry, we have you covered. This article will present an overview for young adults and why they need a HIPAA in place.

Why does my young adult child need a HIPAA?

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HIPAA was enacted to provide guidelines to the healthcare industry for protecting patient information and privacy. For minors, this is a non-issue. Why? Because parents, as legal guardians, have access to their children’s medical information. They are the ones making most of the medical decisions, as well as paying the expenses.

However, once the individual turns 18 years old, he or she is no longer a minor. Under HIPAA, this means that the hospitals and doctor’s offices must safeguard the patient’s information. This information is kept private from everyone, including the parents.

I think everyone agrees that a legal adult should be in charge of his or her own medical information, right? I mean, that just makes sense. But, this privacy protection can pose some problems for young adults. Why?

Well, remember, most 18 year olds are still in high school. These young adults live at home. Their parents pay for their medical expenses. So, even though the law considers them a young adult, their day to day lives look more like that of a child.

So what’s the solution? The solution is your child needs to execute a HIPAA Authorization form.

HIPAA Authorization Form

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Young adults should consider executing the required documentation. Why? This documentation ensures their parents can access their medical records and discuss their medical care. This is accomplished through the use of a HIPAA Authorization Form. With this form, the young adult can designate any individual to be his or her Authorized Recipient of the medical information. Executing this document can be incredibly helpful if there is a question about the young adult’s care while the parent is paying the corresponding medical bill.

A properly executed HIPAA Authorization Form can also be beneficial in the event the young adult ends up in the hospital. Because hospitals do not want to be fined for violating HIPAA, most will err on the side of caution and refrain from disclosing any information to family members without the properly executed documentation. Without this exchange of information, families can feel out of control and doctors may miss important family medical information.

Don’t forget the Health Care Power of Attorney

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As a companion to the HIPAA Authorization Form, it is also important to have a Health Care Power of Attorney executed so that someone will have the authority to make medical decisions on behalf of the young adult if he or she is incapacitated. Without this document, the family may end up having to go to court in order to have someone appointed to make crucial medical decisions. 

If you, or someone you know, has recently turned 18 years old or is in need of a HIPAA Authorization Form, please give us a call. We are here to protect you and your family through all the major milestones in life.