What Happens If I Have COVID-19 At College?

Posted by Sheri Tucker, M.S., J.D.Aug 03, 20200 Comments

Photo of young adults by Daniel Nieto

With the reopening of colleges and living on or off campus, any entering freshman and college young adult needs to ask, “What happens if I have COVID-19 at College?” Perhaps young adults doubt their vulnerability to the virus. Still, real-life stories exist about young people facing this deadly health crisis and not having full immunity. Youth is not a protection against catching it or dealing with hospitalization; and doesn't guarantee that the condition will not be serious. You may have a pre-condition such as diabetes, or a compromised immune system. Today, I am writing directly to you and to your family about an important step you need to take as a college young adult.

College and COVID-19

As with any COVID-19 issue, first make sure you follow social distancing guidelines to protect yourself and others.  Follow your college guidelines. Second, be prepared for any health crisis. COVID-19 is serious; however, other events such as car accidents, or other emergency health issues require preparation.

The College Young Adult

If you're a college freshman, you've likely recently turned 18.  Remember that with this birthday, you have a new legal status. You are now considered a legal adult. Doctors and other professionals cannot share medical information with your parents without your express permission. Your parents cannot automatically step in and talk to your doctors because of HIPAA, which guarantees your right to medical privacy.  What happens if you cannot make an informed medical decision? Who will help you with your health crisis if you cannot speak for yourself?

Your Healthcare Power of Attorney

A healthcare power allows your trusted named agent  to manage your healthcare choices if you are incapacitated. If you cannot talk to your doctor, if you are having an emergency operation, you give permission for your attorney-in-fact to talk to doctors. Typically, young adults name a parent(s) or parents to step in and oversee your care. It does not mean that once you let them help you, they keep having access. The power of attorney stops when you have capacity; you can think and communicate again.

Your Financial Power of Attorney

Maybe you are a working college student with bills and an income. If you have a medical emergency, what happens to your money? If you do require hospitalization, you need to make sure someone is able to pay your bills. You may have social media accounts, online photos, music, and books, as well as online memberships. Perhaps you are a “gamer” and have money tied up in Avatars, cities, and equipment.  You should consider naming a trusted person to take care of your finances and property if you have an emergency medical situation, especially if it becomes a long-term health crisis.

Do I Need a Last Will?

It's never too early to get a head start on your estate plan. You are a legal adult and now legally have your own estate. Bank accounts, personal property, your car, and any digital assets belong to you. Without anything plan in place, your parents will be forced to take your belongings through probate. Perhaps you own something dear that you want to give to your best friend. It's always a good idea to be fully prepared.

Creating Your Estate Plan.

The most important step to take, is to put your powers of attorney for healthcare in place. A plan for Healthcare is important, especially now with COVID-19. If you have questions about a healthcare power of attorney, or any part of an estate plan, give me a call. A power of attorney, keeps your life private, is only used in a crisis, and you can change it at any time. Give me a call at (314) 332-0011 or book an appointment with me. Let's get started on your important step as a young adult.