Guide to Turning 18

A note for young adults

When you turn 18, you become a legal adult under state and federal law. This is a big life event. As an adult, you will have more freedom and responsibilities. It is important to learn how to take care of yourself.

Unless a court decides a legal guardian can make decisions for you, there will be changes to how your health is managed after you turn 18. Your parents and others can make suggestions, give advice, and help you think through options, but you will make the decisions about your health care. This change will not be the same for each person, and that is okay. This guide can help you and your family get you ready to take charge of your health care.

Things to think about

  • Medical tasks will be up to you. The health care team will expect you to check-in to your visit, check health information, answer questions, get test results from your team, and sign forms.
  • The health care team will talk to you directly during visits. They will direct questions to you, and talk to you about your care plan.
  • The final decision about your care plan will be up to you. This means you will make choices about procedures, medications, or other treatments.
  • A decision will need to be made about who has access to your health information. You will decide who can receive medical information about you.
  • Bills and payments will be addressed to you. This is the case even if you are under your parent’s insurance plan. The billing department will not discuss payments with your parents or guardians others unless they have permission to share your health information.
  • Your MyChart account, if you have one, will be under your control. Your parents will not have access to your account unless you give them permission.
    • In MyChart, you will be the only one to view messages from providers, medicine, lab and test results, clinic notes, and appointments. You can also make and change appointments, and refill medicines.

Things you can do

The more involved you become in your health, the easier of a transition it will be. Here are some recommended things you can do:

  • Start early. It can feel overwhelming, so the earlier you begin this process, the better. Your parents/guardians and care team will be able to help you. If you can, start practicing some of these skills before you turn 18.
  • Gather your medical history, vaccine records, and medicine lists. This is helpful information to have when there is an emergency.
  • Learn more about your health history. Talk to your parents and doctor the key things you need to know, your family health history, and the medicines you take.
  • Learn about Advance Health Care. This is a form used to state your health care wishes if you are unable to talk about them yourself.
  • Practice doing health tasks like scheduling appointments, refilling medicines, and asking questions to your doctor.
  • Talk to your parents about how you would like them to help you.
  • Find out if your health insurance will change when you turn 18. Your parents will be able to talk to you about any changes to your coverage.
  • Talk to your doctor to find out if he or she sees patients past their 18th birthday. If they do not, ask for a recommendation on an adult doctor.
  • Review your MyChart account. If you have an account, your parents will not have access to it when you turn 18. It will be up to you schedule appointments, request doctor notes, or refill prescriptions.
  • Decide who can have access to your health information. If you would like to share your health information with anyone, you must sign a Release of Health Information form.
  • Learn about insurance and payments. Many parents help with health costs but you will be responsible for the bills after you turn 18. It will help to learn more about this topic.