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Estate Planning and HIPAA Authorizations

Your estate planning might include the preparation of a HIPAA Authorization, which document would permit someone to have access to your medical information. A HIPAA Authorization which complies with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and is executed by you, as the Principal, authorizes the release of medical information to the person or persons designated. Once signed, a HIPAA Authorization can be revoked at any time.

The Authorization might allow your physician and other health care providers to disclose your individual identifiable health information to your spouse, your children, your Agent under a Power of Attorney or your Guardian (if you had not signed a Power of Attorney). For example, a HIPAA Authorization might permit the health care provider to disclose information and to discuss with your spouse all relevant personal health information, including but not limited to any determination of whether you are capable of managing your financial affairs and whether you lack the capacity to make or communicate treatment decisions.

The Authorization could provide for limited disclosure (which is information pertinent to your current condition or illness) or full disclosure (which is information about any aspect of your health). It might state who does not have access to this information, such as an ex-spouse or a sibling. It might be effective from the date that it is signed going forward, or it might be limited to a certain period of time, such as when you are having surgery in July, 2015.

Whether or not you may need a HIPAA Authorization is something to discuss with your elder law attorney when you are doing estate planning.

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