Making sense of illness, death and taxes through the eyes of Attorney and Author, Melinda Gustafson Gervasi
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
HIPAA and Probate
Recently a client of mine was told by a health insurance company that the company could NOT speak to her about her deceased mother's insurance claim (which they were denying) because the deceased mother had never signed a power of attorney for health care. The company wrongly stated that the privacy continued after death. Why were they wrong? Because my client was the personal representative for the estate, and HIPAA treats a personal representative the same as the patient...no release would be needed. Moreover, the authority of a POA for health care ends with death. Yet again, a great example of why it is important to have POAs completed (even if an insurance company relies on them when the should not).
Need more information on this topic, check out this HIPAA summary page.
As always, this post is meant for discussion, not dispensing legal advice. Check with your attorney prior to taking action.