Before you go shopping for dorm room supplies and hit the book store, have your child fill in a health care proxy form and a HIPAA-compliant release form.
Whether if it’s a freshman or senior, be sure you have these important health care directives for any child over the age of 18 in place.
College has a way of luring young adults into behaviors that can land them in a doctor’s office — or worse — an emergency room. But once your child reaches the legal age of adulthood, you can be excluded from the health care process.
A college campus is ripe with opportunity for students to find trouble or, sadly, for trouble to find them. From viral outbreaks, such as meningitis, to off-campus parties and much more, many college-age children are put in first-time situations that can have life-altering consequences.
And what happens when the child is unable to speak or otherwise advocate for him or herself? With a directive in place, the uncertainty of who makes the decisions on behalf of the child is removed.
And when we are not involved, all too often our children may choose to keep us in the dark of the lingering after effects out of concern for our worry or out of fear of stigma or retribution. A recent front page story from the July 13th Sunday New York Times, "Reporting a Rape, and Wishing She Hadn't," brought this into sharp focus for me as a parent of two college-age children.
Make sure whoever the child has named on these forms can get information about or speak for the child in the event he or she can't. This simple step can assure parents are front and center when children are confronting physical and emotional health issues.
Do it today! Need help? Contact your financial advisor.
By William Finnegan, Senior Managing Director, Global Retail Marketing, MFS Investments
- Rules may vary by state. Your pediatrician may also be able to guide you regarding HIPAA. An informative Web site on this issue is www.caringinfo.org.
- Check out Vicky Schroebel's blog post about establishing a health care directive for adult children.
- Visit the college planning page on mfs.com's Heritage Planning section.