You have already created an estate plan and everything is in place, but most likely your estate plan is missing a very important document: the HIPAA Authorization. In 2003, Congress created a policy referred to as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. With this Act, your personal health information can no longer be released by health professionals and insurance companies without your direct consent. So how does this affect your estate?
When you create a Will and Trust you do so to protect your estate, but also protect yourself if something happens to your health down the road. Though your Advance Directives are created and you have listed an executor and caretaker, if you do not have an HIPAA Authorization in your estate planning documents, that individual will not be able to receive health information from your physician. Worse, if you are injured without a loved one present, physicians cannot contact your loved ones and notify them over the phone of your injury.
Without the HIPAA Authorization physicians are unable to retrieve valuable healthcare information, including drug allergies and past medical histories, which can be a life-threatening situation.
Therefore, look through your Advance Medical Directives and make sure you have a HIPAA Authorization form filled out. If not, make an appointment with an estate planning attorney today!