Health Care Proxy for Young Adults

Young and happy urban people having fun with digital tabletQuestion:
My daughter started college classes last week and I contacted the health office to try to help her with some forms and I was told that they cannot speak with me.

Once most college aged students have turned 18 or will soon be turning 18, they are considered adults and as such, we, as parents, no longer have a right to access their confidential medical information. For that reason, two items that you should add to your seemingly never ending to do/packing list are a health care proxy with a HIPPA waiver and a Power of Attorney. Even if your child is still covered by your health insurance, and assuming you are paying your child’s tuition, you are not entitled to information from the school regarding either. The good news is that this is simple to rectify.
Once your child turns 18 consider having them execute a health care proxy naming you as the agent. Be sure to check that the document you choose is HIPAA compliant. This will allow you not only to make medical decisions in an emergency, it will also allow you to access basic medical information and inquire with the health service department at her school.
With respect to financial decisions and information gathering, you would need to be named as agent under your daughter’s Power of Attorney. A properly executed Power of Attorney document will make it possible for you to correspond with the Financial Aid office at your daughter’s school. While these documents may come in handy to assist your daughter with day to day tasks, they will become crucial in the event that there is a medical emergency and you have to make decisions for your college aged child. Without these documents in place, the court would need to appoint you as Guardian for your child, something which can easily be avoided by signing these documents now.


Filed in: Ask Nancy

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