Imagine your college-aged daughter (or son) has an accident while away at school and ends up in the emergency room. When you call the hospital, you are denied information about her care because you do not have the proper forms signed.
HIPAA , not so hip
Due to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), you no longer have legal access to your child’s health information after they reach age 18. This is the case even if they are still your dependent and their health insurance coverage is in your name. You would not have access to your child’s billing records nor would you be able to consult with medical professionals regarding your child’s health.
To avoid this administrative nightmare, make sure you take these steps.
- Health insurance coverage. Before your child leaves for school, make sure your health insurance will cover your child at his or her new campus home. You may need to inform your insurance company, especially if your child is going out of state for school.
- Signed HIPAA authorization. Have your son or daughter sign a HIPAA authorization form allowing you access to their medical information.
- Medical power of attorney. Create a multipurpose medical power of attorney authorization. The medical power of attorney will not only give you authorization to help make medical decisions, it can also include an advance directive or living will. Each state has different requirements so you will need to ensure the correct forms are used.
- Durable power of attorney. This added legal step authorizes a parent or other agent to make decisions on the student’s behalf. It can be helpful if your student plans on studying abroad or if you will want access to the student’s accounts for possible billing information.
Scan two copies of these documents — one for you and one for your child — and keep them in a secure place along with a copy of your student’s insurance card.
We here at Bruton, Nissen and Schellberg have lots of useful tax advice for parents who have college students in the household (or living on campus) – and are happy to look into whether or not you are filling out the correct tax forms and getting proper credits. Please give us a call at (360) 671-0700 to set up an appointment, or send us an email using the form below.
We’re here to help.