Every year, tens of thousands of young men and women begin or return to College. In Alabama alone, there are more than 60 Colleges or Universities in the State. In total, the number of College students enrolled in an Alabama school at any one time can be well over 100,000. Unfortunately, most of these students are sent off to College without a Healthcare Package. What does it mean for a College student to have a Healthcare Package?
In the State of Alabama, an individual is considered an adult upon his or her 19th birthday. Federal and State law restricts the disclosure of healthcare related information about an adult patient. Specifically, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) can impose civil and criminal penalties on healthcare providers and insurance companies for failing to protect or wrongfully disclosing a patient’s health related information. The possible imposition of these penalties can encourage healthcare providers to develop policies which refuse to disclose certain health related information to family members of patients.
An example of this problem involves a scenario where a College student is rushed to the hospital for an emergency appendectomy. Upon entering the hospital, the student is unable to sign any release forms. While the student is in the emergency room, a hospital administrator contacts the student’s parents to determine what insurance the student has. When the parent asks what is wrong with their son/daughter the administrator responds that it is against their policy to disclose health related information without a HIPAA Release or other form of approval.
For any College Student 19 and above, he or she should have three important documents in his or her Healthcare Package to overcome these regulatory pitfalls:
- HIPAA Release Form
- Durable Power of Attorney
- Advanced Directive for Healthcare
Although these three documents cannot stop a disaster, these documents can help mitigate the damage and provide relief to loved ones. Different forms of these documents can be found for free on the internet; however, it is highly recommended that you seek the advice of a competent Attorney, licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction, to help develop your College Student’s Healthcare Package.
Written by: Tommy B. Majors IV
Attorney and Managing Member of The Majors Law Firm, LLC
NOTICE: This document has been prepared by The Majors Law Firm and is intended for informational purposes only. The information provided in this document is provided only as general information pertaining to the State of Alabama, which may or may not reflect the most current legal developments, may only apply to certain jurisdictions and should not be considered an indication of future results. This document contains information on legal issues and is not a substitute for legal advice from a qualified attorney. Transmission of this document does not constitute an attorney-client relationship between you and The Majors Law Firm. The Majors Law Firm expressly disclaims all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this document.