Can You Get Your Senior’s (or Spouse’s) Medical Records?

Mother And Daugther CuddlingYour aging parent is having some medical concerns. As their son or daughter, you think it will be a breeze to help them through doctor and hospital visits, paperwork, insurance, and so on. But do you have the right to your senior’s medical records? Or your spouse’s medical records?

Not automatically. It’s a matter of privacy. Their records are private, just as yours are, accessible only by them and anyone else they happened to designate. If you’re jumping in to help, it could cause the process to slowdown if you aren’t specifically chosen by them.

This affects not only spouses or grown children trying to help their aging parents, but also patients who may want their primary caregiver (family or otherwise) to have access to their medical records.

Often paperwork is given at the doctor’s office or the hospital that has the patient provide a name and contact information for anyone additional who is allowed to receive information about the patient’s medical. If this paperwork isn’t given automatically, the patient can and should request an authorization form designating permission.

Incidentally, a doctor is allowed to give information to a spouse or family member if he or she is present during a doctor’s visit or a hospital stay. If the patient has a family member come with them to the doctor, the doctor can assume that the patient wants the family member to have access to the medical information being given unless the patient states otherwise.

While being at the doctor with the patient may allow you to hear current diagnoses or recommendations, it does not guarantee full medical record access. If the patient wants you to be able to access more than the current conversation, have them authorize you in writing.


Making Tough Choices for Your Family’s Healthcare: Are You Ready?

unnamedAs many of you know, I’m a single mom of two beautiful grown daughters who are a little more than two years apart.

When I started out, I didn’t think much about health insurance or anything like it. I thought my life and my future family’s life would go along as everyone thinks it will…happy and uneventful. 

But then one of my girls was born with a life-threatening condition.  And when my youngest daughter was 18 months old, my husband and I divorced, leaving me to care for both my girls on my own. So, like many people going through a major life change, I was forced to make some hard decisions about health insurance that I never thought I would have to. 

This is how life is.  You often must make tough choices when you are least prepared.  

So what did I do?

First, I recognized how important having health insurance is.  As a single mom, there was no way for me to pay for all of our medical bills since my daughter was in and out of the hospital.  She also required a lot of medical supplies which were beyond anything I could afford on my own.

For me, I changed jobs so that we could have better health insurance coverage.  I was lucky to get a job at the hospital where many of my daughter’s doctors were located. Unlike today, when we have the the option of signing up for healthcare on the health exchanges created by ObamaCare, the only way I could change my health insurance was to change jobs.

At that time, I had to take the risk that my new employer would refuse to pay for my daughter’s care because her condition might be considered pre-existing.  Now, under ObamaCare, you can change jobs and your new employer can’t refuse to cover your care due to pre-existing conditions.

Next, I made sure that the doctors and hospitals taking care of my daughter participated in my new insurance plan.  It was very important to me that she continue to receive the expert care that she needed.

By making sure those doctors and hospitals participated in my plan, I avoided overwhelming medical bills.  When I first started looking at new insurance plans, I was tempted to just look at the monthly premium cost. I was single mom with a new job and that monthly cost represented a huge chunk of my paycheck. But my first priority was to keep my daughter’s doctors who had taken such good care of her. If I had gone with a cheaper insurance I would have had to  to pick new doctors OR pay huge bills because those doctors weren’t a part of my plan. By saving $100 a month, I might have been signing up for thousands in uncovered expenses.  With a sick child, the last thing I could handle was overwhelming medical bills.

I’m happy to report that we received amazing care and my daughters are now both healthy and grown.  It was a tough time but we made it through with great insurance and didn’t get saddled with a ton of medical bills.

When you have tough choices, it can be overwhelming. I know, I’ve been there.  But with the right information, you can be have the peace of mind that you’ve made the right decisions for you and your family. 

I hope this post helps you Spin Your Healthcare Your Way!


During the next few weeks I’ll be finalizing my ebook, Easy Healthcare: Choosing an Insurance Plan.  Let me know what your toughest choices are when it comes to health insurance and I’ll make sure we have that covered for you!