What is HIPAA and why is it Important?

What is HIPAA and why is it Important?

HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Authorization Act. It can be broken down into two categories, Protection and Portability. Portability means that if you have insurance through your employer and you lose your job it gives you the right to transfer that insurance and keep it. Protection means that your Protected Health Information which is any medical record or Medical payment information can only be disclosed by either your Authorization or your agents.

Why is it Important?

This becomes very important when you are hospitalized and care givers need information from any number of doctors and care givers that you have seen such as Dentists, Psychologists, Psychiatrists, specialists, chiropractors, and pharmacists. To make sure that this valuable information is used and does not violate any protected health information a simple HIPAA Authorization Form can be used to grant this release.

What is a HIPAA Authorization Form:

  1. Designates trusted individual to receive your protected health information for emergency situations. The person picked should probably be your Agent of your Advanced Healthcare Directive and subsequent successors.
  2. Designates all healthcare providers such as physicians, podiatrists, chiropractors, or osteopaths), psychiatrists, psychologists, dentists, therapists, nurses, hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, laboratories, ambulance services, assisted living facilities, residential care facilities, bed and board facilities, nursing homes, medical insurance companies or any other health care providers or affiliates to use, release and disclose any of my protected medical information.
  3. Termination – the form will only terminate by written revocation by you.
  4. 3rd Party Liability release – Any entity acting upon this form shall not be held liable.


HIPAA Authorization Form should be part of your complete Estate Plan. The form should also be part of your Spouses protected documents as well as any children. The documents should be stored electronically with a corresponding Emergency Health Card so that First Responders can have access to vital Protected Health Information.  




James Zakasky
An estate attorney who goes beyond drafting wills and creating trusts