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How HIPAA Impacts Estates Plans in North Carolina

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PAA is one of the most misunderstood federal laws. The purpose behind the law is to protect a patient’s identifying health information from being shared without informed consent. The health information protected by the law are records from medical providers and health insurance carriers. HIPAA provides a procedural framework for health care providers to share information that will benefit the patient. 


There are four key aspects of HIPAA:

1.      Privacy of health information;

2.      Security of health data;

3.      Notifications of medical record breaches in security; and

4.      The right to access the information and obtain copies.  


The law does not extend to cover information from the average person or any business outside of health care. Many people misconstrue HIPAA to mean they are comprehensively entitled to healthcare privacy in all types of circumstances. But that simply is not the case.

There are very few situations where employers, businesses, and educators are not allowed to ask you to share your vaccination status. Employers are legally allowed to require proof of vaccination. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) confirmed recently that no federal law is violated by an employer asking an employee for vaccination status.

This means that if you are hiring a caregiver for a senior loved one, you are allowed to ask whether the person is vaccinated. In turn, the caregiver can also inquire as to whether the patient is also vaccinated. At Estate Planning NC, we understand the obstacles facing caregivers and those in need of long-term care. Finding the right solution often takes time and considerable research.


Start early when it comes to long-term care planning, estate planning and incapacity planning.


How HIPAA Impacts Caring for the Elderly

 

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, commonly known as “HIPAA”, has a huge impact on providing care for loved ones. This federal law was enacted in 1996 to protect the privacy of individuals’ medical information.  It requires health providers and insurers to keep medical information confidential and secure. This information cannot be disclosed unless there is written authorization from the patient.  This allows patients to exert more rights over their own health information and set limits on who can receive this information.

 

With curiosity peaking over COVID-19 cases, many seek information on who in their community may be testing positive. This desire to know butts up against the right to privacy afforded by HIPAA. Even in a worldwide pandemic, HIPAA continues to protect patients’ medical information.

 

 Information that is protected by HIPAA:

- all personal information contained within a patient's medical record

- any conversations with medical professionals or notes taken by a doctor, and

- medical billing information.

 

By signing a HIPAA authorization form, a patient can grant their caregiver access to this information about their care. In many situations, a caregiver having access to this helps ensure that more quality decisions are made related to the patient’s healthcare. This also allows caregivers to communicate directly with a patient's doctor to coordinate treatment and care between medical entities and it allows the caregiver to discuss and pay medical bills on the patient's behalf.

 

If the person you are caring for has not drafted a Healthcare Power of Attorney, it is recommended that you encourage them to sign a HIPAA release and keep these copies in their file. This will allow you to communicate with medical professionals and with any other family members that the patient has granted authorization. Be careful that you know exactly with whom you are allowed to share confidential medical information and that you follow these instructions carefully.


All of our estate plans include a HIPAA authorization. We encourage you to list as many family members and friends as you would like. These are not people making your health care decisions, but you are giving them access to information.


Our Process: 

You will receive an email with a questionnaire link. Complete and submit prior to your consultation and the $350 fee will be waived.

Meet with an estate planning attorney and learn all the different strategies that can help you achieve the outcomes you desire.

Choose your plan based on your budget.

Pay half of the plan fee and schedule your legacy interview and signing ceremony.

At signing, pay the balance owed and get your plan along with the peace of mind knowing you protected everything you own and everyone you love! Schedule Now!

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