Question 1: What is a HIPAA release?
HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This federal law limits who can view your medical information. While your doctors, insurance providers, and other healthcare workers can view your medical records as part of providing care, other people are prevented from viewing confidential information. A HIPAA release is a form you can sign in which you can choose who has the right to look at your personal medical records.
Question 2: Why is a HIPAA release importance?
Parts of estate planning involve creating medical directives which will allow others to make medical decisions should you become legally incapacitated. When this happens, the person or people you select must be able to make their decisions knowingly and in light of all relevant medical information. Without a HIPAA release your healthcare providers may not legally be allowed to provide this information to the people you have chosen to make medical decisions for you.
Question 3: When do I need a HIPAA release?
If you have already made a medical directive you need to be sure that it includes the appropriate release information. If it doesn’t you can create a separate form that you can include with the directives. You can also contact your doctor’s office or other medical providers and ask if they have a form they prefer to use. Otherwise, any medical directive you create should include the appropriate HIPAA release.