Graduating from high school is a major life event filled with excitement, anticipation, and sometime a little trepidation. Going off to college is another major life event filled with similar emotions. While you are packing up your room for college, filling out all the school forms, and picking out your classes, you may also want to consider a health care proxy and a HIPAA release. Once you turn 18, you are an adult in the eyes of health care providers. This means that if you visit the school health center, or are admitted to a hospital for minor or major reasons, you parents can not call up to get any information. Your parents will have no way of knowing whether you are ok or not, whether you need them or not.
The health care proxy is a document which allows you to pick who you would like to act on your behalf if you are unable to make decisions regarding your medical care. The HIPAA release is a release allowing your named proxies to access your medical records and/or talk to doctors. Without these documents, doctors are under no legal obligation to talk with parents about their kids’ medical conditions while they are away at college.
These documents can be changed at any time while you have the mental capacity to do so. Therefore, if you execute them now, prior to heading off to college, but down the road change your mind on who should act as your proxy, you can always update them. In addition, by having these documents in place, if the worst case scenario where to happen, mom and dad would have to file for guardianship in order to assist with medical decisions. Having a health care proxy in place prior to the worst happening, it would negate having to go to court for these decisions. So while you are planning for your future, don’t forget the health care proxy and HIPAA release!
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