Remember HIPPA kicks in now that your senior is considered an adult
The spring ritual of high school graduations is here. But graduates and their parents often are poorly prepared to meet the practicalities of the youngsters’ sudden entry into adulthood, from making medical decisions to choosing what to study. How should parents and their offspring get ready for the transition?
Amid the joy of the occasion, facing such practical concerns is easily overlooked. The entrances to many housing subdivisions sport banners trumpeting the names of the community’s high school graduates. For parents and grandparents alike, it’s an exercise in wondering how little ones grew up so fast. Grow they did, and grow they will. But as they celebrate their 18th birthdays, we hope and pray that they will advance in wisdom and make good choices in life.
The Age of Majority
From a financial planning standpoint, they still depend largely on the Bank of Mom and Dad. Recognize, however, that the law now views many of them as adults. In 47 other states, the age of majority is 18 (Alabama and Nebraska set the age of majority to 19 and Mississippi sets it at 21).
The age of legal adulthood is called the age of majority.
As an adult, your graduate should have a will, even if he or she owns very little. Otherwise, in the event of a fatal accident or illness, the legal process (called an intestate proceeding) to sort out who gets the deceased’s belongings is heartbreaking and irksome.
Once young people are deemed adults, health-care providers may not share medical information with parents. That’s unless a parent has a durable power of attorney for health care, signed by the adult child, appointing mom, dad or both as their agent empowered to make medical decisions if they cannot.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) bars doctors, hospitals and other health-care providers from disclosing information about a person’s health or medical condition without express permission.
Your relationship to the patient is irrelevant. Unless you have a power of attorney with HIPAA provisions, no health information will be shared. Without documentation, a sick or hurt adult child away at school or traveling on a break has a problem:
Parents could encounter potentially disastrous delays in getting proper care.
Going on to College or University?
For the graduating high school class of 2022, roughly 63% of high school graduates were enrolled in a college or university next year, according to government data. On average, only 55.5% of those studying for a bachelor’s degree go on to graduate – and it may take six years at that. Is your budget for four years, or will your student take longer? Will he or she finish?
Further, school counselors report that 75% of students change their majors after they enter college. Perhaps the extra courses required following a change account for students staying beyond four years. Another factor may be the dizzying number of majors now available. One large state university offers 251 different majors. Can you imagine a restaurant menu with over 250 choices?
Helping Our Kids
Parents might help their student make better choices and spend education dollars more wisely through some unique diagnostic testing and counseling. There are three parts to the human mind, separate domains for thinking, feeling and doing. We often strive to measure the thinking part (cognitive), and feeling or personality (affective).
Often overlooked is the conative, or “doing” part of the mind. Conative governs the striving instincts that drive your natural way of taking action, your modus operandi (MO). Your child has a unique set of innate strengths and talents that remain unchanged since birth. Understanding one’s unique MO is invaluable in making career choices or selecting the educational path to follow.
The conative part of your students’ brain is a powerful mental resource that, with understanding and the exercise of control, gives them the freedom to be their authentic selves, vastly improving success metrics. It also can enhance the prospect that educational dollars will be more wisely spent.
Many parents are committed to financing some or all of a four-year undergraduate education. Six years, and changing majors? Maybe not as much.
Talk to your financial advisors for tips on paying for college.