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What Is A HIPAA Authorization, And How Does It Work?


It’s a fact of life, in our lifetimes, many of us will face a serious illness or a debilitating condition. Most of us also wish our loved ones to be kept well informed about our condition and illness. But unless you have completed and properly executed a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Authorization, your loved ones may be denied access to that important medical and health information.

The HIPAA Authorization gives healthcare providers permission to share information about your medical conditions and health care with as many people as you wish. But these Authorizations are very specific, and generally require reference to particular people, including spouses, partners, and children, before providers can speak with or provide information to them. Most doctors’ offices and hospitals have these forms available upon request. We also have them in our office.

It is important to distinguish between a Health Care Surrogate Form and a HIPAA Authorization. The HIPAA Authorization allows access to information, but only a Healthcare Care Surrogate Form allows an individual to make decisions based on that information. Though these other documents also give the person who is acting on your behalf access to your medical and health information, you should have both documents in place to protect your wishes and allow your loved ones to act on your behalf.

We routinely prepare HIPAA Authorizations as part of an estate planning package of documents for our clients and would be happy to assist you with yours.

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