Health Tips for College Bound Children

Health care planning tips for parents and their college-bound students. Imagine having your child away from home in an ER and not being able to get any details due to HIPAA privacy rules. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield offers parents some advice to take the stress out of having your child away from home.

If you have a child heading off to college for the first time, you’ve likely spent the summer thinking about how to furnish the dorm room and pack what’s needed, along with frequently revisiting “the talk” about personal responsibility. But have you given any thought to planning what should happen if your child gets sick while away at school? Excellus BlueCross BlueShield offers parents some advice:


  • Make sure your child has a copy, either paper or electronic, of your health insurance subscriber ID card. They’ll need it if they ever need to go to the Emergency Room or an Urgent Care Center.  (They can take a photo of your card… both sides… with their smart phone.)
  • Once your child turns 18, you no longer have a legal right to information about their medical condition. Even if they are covered under your health insurance, and you are paying the bill.
  • You’ll need these three forms on file to be informed in a medical emergency. Your family attorney is a great resource to answer questions about these forms and facilitate signing.
    • HIPAA authorization 
    • Medical power of attorney
    • Durable power of attorney


Imagine having your child away from home in an ER and not being able to get any details due to HIPAA privacy rules. If your child is attending college out of state complete the forms relevant to New York state, and also to the state where the school is located to avoid any challenges.

The school may also have its own privacy form, make sure to complete that too. Scan the documents so your child, and yourself, each have copies that can easily be emailed to health care providers.

Telemedicine is perfect for kids away at school

Telemedicine is when the patient and the provider are in two different locations but linked by telephone, or a secure two-way video connection on a smart phone, computer, or tablet.

Most health insurers have website links to approved telemedicine providers. Univera’s member website links to MDLIVE, its in-network telemedicine provider.

Telemedicine allows people who are away from home to see a qualified physician when they need to address a minor medical condition. Examples of minor medical conditions that could be addressed with a telemedicine visit are:


  • Sinus Infections & Sore Throats
  • Nausea, Constipation, & Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Urinary Tract Infections
  • Joint Aches & Pains
  • Ear infections


Remember that telemedicine providers can write prescriptions, and send them to the nearest pharmacy, and health insurers in New York state are mandated to cover telemedicine visits by members who are enrolled in their commercial products.

Encourage your college student to add your health insurer’s website to his or her internet ‘favorites’, or download the app, and create a member account so that when a minor medical condition occurs, access to a board-certified telemedicine physician is just a click away.

Health care planning is not as much fun as deciding how to decorate a dorm room, but it’s much more important when you have a child who is heading off to college for the first time.