Medical Directives for College-Age Kids

Legal Article

Medical Directives for College-Age Kids

In most states, once you turn 18, health care professionals are unable to share medical information with anyone else—even parents. This is can lead to serious problems, especially if your child is going to an out-of-state college or university. In this case, you may get a call from a hospital saying that your child is in their care. However, they will be unable to give you any details about their condition—this is true even if your child is on your insurance and you claim them as a dependent on your taxes. To avoid having to drive across multiple states to get to your child without knowing what condition they are in, it is crucial that you complete a few legal documents before your child moves out for college.

Important Health Care Documents

  • Medical directive and medical power of attorney: A medical directive—also known as a health care proxy—is a document that allows someone else to make critical medical decisions and have access to medical information for someone who is over the age of 18. Without this document, parents may need to gain court approval to act on behalf of their adult children. If your child is planning on living in a different state, it is a good idea to fill out these forms both in the state of their permanent and temporary residency. Further, if the child is at a college or university, you may have to fill out an institution-specific version of this document.
  • HIPPA authorization: While a HIPPA authorization is typically part of medical directives, it is sometimes a forgotten and ignored document. However, as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) generally prevents health care professionals and their supporting staff to disclose information, this is a critical document to include.

Final Thoughts

While there are free versions of these forms, as rules surrounding what health care professionals can and cannot disclose constantly change, hiring an attorney to draft these documents is always a good idea. With over 20 years of experience and attorneys who can practice in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and New York, the attorneys at Antonoplos & Associates can help you create and work through any issues that may occur from creating a medical directive for your college age kids.