Estate Planning in Florida: What is a HIPAA Release Form?
Signed into law by President Clinton in the mid 1990s, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a complex federal law that regulates medical providers and health insurance companies. HIPAA provides some important legal protections for patients—with one of the most well known being its strict confidentiality provisions.
Although HIPAA’s protection of your medical records and your sensitive health information is crucial, it also presents some potential challenges—at least if you fail to address HIPAA in your estate plan. In this post, our Tampa estate planning attorneys explain why a HIPAA release form is a key part of comprehensive estate plan.
Medical Providers and Health Insurance Companies May Give Your Surrogate a Hard Time
HIPAA strictly limits the medical information that doctors and health insurers can share with third parties. Indeed, under HIPAA even a close relative cannot access sensitive medical information without permission. Medical providers could face harsh penalties if they violate HIPAA. As a result, they are often very cautious when handling many records.
Here is the potential challenge: If you become incapacitated, your doctors may refuse to share medical records/information with your health care surrogate. In doing so, they are likely to cite HIPAA’s confidentiality provisions. For a health care surrogate or a person who is in charge of caring for a vulnerable adult, HIPAA can cause some challenges.
HIPAA Release: Give a Trusted Person Authorization to Access Your Medical Information
The good news is that there are steps that you can take right now that will prevent this potential problem from arising in the future. Beyond appointing a health care surrogate, it is also recommended that you make sure that your estate plan is fully HIPAA compliant. With a HIPAA release (HIPAA authorization) in place, you can let physicians and health insurance providers share sensitive information with close family members and other trusted parties of your choosing.
To be clear, you will still be fully protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. A HIPAA release is not a waiver of your rights under the law. Quite the contrary; it empowers you to have more control over who gets to access your medical records/health information and when they can do so. It is a relatively narrow estate planning document that will make sure that your most trusted loved ones are able to get access to your medical information in the event that you are no longer able to care for yourself.
Call Our Tampa, FL Estate Planning Lawyer for Immediate Assistance
At Bubley & Bubley, P.A., our Florida estate planning attorneys work tirelessly to help our clients find reliable peace and security. If you have questions about HIPAA release forms or estate planning in general, we are ready to help. To set up a confidential consultation with an experienced lawyer, please contact our legal team today. With an office location in Tampa, we serve individuals and families throughout Hillsborough County, including in Brandon, Oldsmar, Land O Lakes, and Valrico.