Most adults are familiar with the HIPAA documents we’re asked to read and sign at doctor offices and hospitals. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act was passed in 1996 to set standards for protecting personal health information. That’s important. We all value and deserve privacy. Yet, it’s important to know when to waive health care privacy.
When to Waive Health Care Privacy
In estate planning documents like health care powers of attorney, living wills, and advance health care directives, it’s a good idea to waive your HIPPA rights. Doing so allows physicians and other health care professionals to share medical information with your designated representative so that informed health care decisions can be made on your behalf. Without HIPAA authorizations in these documents, doctors may be unwilling to discuss medical information. That could delay decision-making regarding care and end-of-life wishes.
Children who may have recently turned 18 years of age should also sign a HIPPA waiver granting parents access to their health care information in the event of an emergency.
Now is a good time to take stock of your family’s health care powers of attorney and related documents to ensure the best care possible for yourself and the people you love.