familiaHere is an unfortunate, albeit possible scenario: a child celebrates his or her 18th birthday but gets into an accident. Because of strict Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy laws, the parent or guardian is potentially unable to make any medical decisions or receive any information regarding the child’s condition. When the child turns eighteen, he or she is legally considered an adult. Hence, the parent cannot access medical records without their permission.

What is a parent or guardian to do in such a difficult scenario? A good thing to do is to be proactive, and that means having a discussion with the child about medical privacy laws as well as filling out all of the necessary paperwork or looking into appointing a medical power of attorney. That way, in the event an emergency does occur, the parent or guardian can receive vital medical information about their child.

It’s worth noting that HIPAA rules apply even if the child happens to be on a parent’s insurance plan. This means that even if the parent is the one making the payments and the primary policyholder, they do not automatically have a right to the child’s medical information. In the case of young adults, parents may have to request information about their child’s treatment through the insurance company.

This update is by Medical Accounts Systems, a full-service healthcare revenue cycle management company providing a number of services including insurance follow up and managed care disputes, physician reimbursement, extended business office services, and more. For additional information on our services or for any questions you may have on topics such as medical bill debt collection, please call 877-759-6315.