Which forms do insurance companies and Medicare require in order for me to become a Patient Advocate for my elderly father?

1 answer | Last updated: Jun 28, 2010
Marcyv asked...

Besides a durable financial power of attorney, which forms do insurance companies, Medicare, etc. require in order for me to become a Patient Advocate for my elderly father? He is becoming increasingly confused and I need to be able to file claims, receive bills and statements from them. Thanks!

Expert Answers

You might need a real hodge-podge of forms, depending on the requirements of specific agencies, medical offices, insurance companies and the like. These forms are in two categories:  financial and medical.

The basic financial document is the Power of Attorney for Finances.This can allow you access to all information regarding financial matters, whether they relate to your father's medical care or otherwise. But even if you have drawn up and your father has executed a valid Power of Attorney for Finances, some businesses (such as insurance companies and banks), institutions and organizations may also require that your father sign their own form authorizing the release of information.

If you want to be an advocate for your father regarding medical matters, authorization to receive information must meet the requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which protects the privacy of medical records. To begin with, Medicare has its own form (available online) called an Authorization to Disclose Health Information. When your father signs the form, it can allow you to get all of his Medicare records, including those relating to care, coverage and payments. Each doctor, hospital, clinic or other health provider may have its own similar form that meets the requirements of HIPAA. Finally, as you mention, eventually you are likely to need a durable power of attorney for health care (also called a living will or advance medical directive), to use if and when your father becomes incapable of making decisions or of granting authorization to you.