Failing to Plan for HIPAA: Estate Planning Mistakes

Estate Planning Mistake #11
Access to Medical Records – Failing to Plan for HIPAA

In 1996, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), was enacted by the U.S. government. It was created to protect the privacy of an individual’s medical and health information. Under HIPAA, hospital staff, nursing home employees, and all other individuals that deal with medical records could face very severe penalties if they release your medical information to unauthorized personnel.

While the overall purpose of HIPAA is a good one, it can also make it very challenging for your family to gain access to your medical information if you should become incapacitated. If you want your family to be involved in your healthcare decisions, then you will need to fill out a special form, called a HIPAA authorization. This form allows medical personnel to share your health information with anyone you specify.

A HIPAA authorization is different than a health care directive. You should create a HIPAA authorization in addition to the health care directive.

I go into more detail about HIPAA authorizations in part 11 in my series, 12 Common Estate Planning Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. Take a look at the video below for more information, and contact my office at 916-932-7416 for help with creating or modifying your estate plan.

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