An essential part of estate planning is making sure your end-of-life medical care lines up with your expectations, even if you’re unable to say the words. It starts with outlining the care you want, but you’ll also want to make sure those that need access to your information can get it.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPPA) is for keeping medical records safe from prying eyes and only allows the release of pertinent details when a patient doesn’t offer an objection or at a health care provider’s discretion. There’s a better way to get the records into the proper hands when you’re unable to make your wishes known. A HIPPA release can play that role, and you can include it with the rest of your estate plan.
A HIPPA release doesn’t have to be a blanket permission, and you could outline the exact parameters for who can see what:
- Important information: You don’t have to release every page of your file. You can hand-pick what will see the light of day when the time comes. You can choose to only release specific tests, data from certain specialists and particular ongoing treatments.
- Relevant timeline: Your records may span the decades, but you don’t have to release non-vital history. You can set limits on how far back family members can look in your records, to keep eyes off issues long put to rest.
- Assigning privilege: You’ll be able to spell out what information gets out there, and who gets the authority to view it. Keep the disclosure close to home by only allowing attending physicians, close family and your health care proxy to get a glimpse into your medical history.
Make sure the ones who need to have access to your medical history get permission. Don’t leave it up to a physician’s discretion when you know who will need to handle any future decisions.