It’s 3 a.m., and paramedics have alerted you that the senior you care for has suffered a medical emergency. Your thoughts immediately go to your loved one’s well-being. It’s not uncommon, though, if your next thought is of your senior’s health insurance. You may not have a clue what documents you’ll need when you get to the hospital or how much treatment her insurance coverage will provide, not to mention how to handle the bills and financial decisions that could follow.
The easy way to avoid this scenario is to be prepared by learning the basics about your loved one’s insurance coverage before an emergency takes place. Navigating the medical insurance maze can be a challenge for caregivers and family members who have no experience dealing with Medicare and supplemental insurance coverage, so it’s a good idea to understand your senior’s plan so that you know what to do in case of an emergency.
Three Key Steps to Take Now
- Gather any paperwork you can find about your senior’s insurance coverage. This includes policy numbers and contact information so that you can get answers to questions when they arise. Be sure to make a copy of this information for yourself. Your loved one should have insurance cards for Medicare or a Medicare Advantage Plan, along with any supplemental insurance coverage policies, which can include Medicare Part D prescription coverage and long-term insurance.
- Know what will be covered by Medicare and other insurance. Experts in caregiver stress recommend that you find out what both Medicare and private insurance will approve for your loved one’s care, and for how long. For instance, many family members do not realize that Medicare only covers nursing home care for up to 100 days. Looking up this type of information on Medicare.gov can be beneficial. The AARP also has information explaining what Medicare and Medicare Part D will cover, along with a primer on Medicare billing and how it works. Be sure to stay current on the latest government changes in senior health care coverage.
- Have your loved one’s healthcare power of attorney easily accessible. This will help you discuss treatment decisions with medical personnel and insurance companies, as well as handle billing issues. You should also have a durable power of attorney authorizing you to handle financial matters if your senior becomes incapacitated, so that you can pay bills from his bank account if necessary or authorize the installation of safety devices, such as a medical alert system.
Create an Insurance Information Folder
Humana offers a free “Caregiver’s Toolkit” to ensure you have everything you need at your fingertips, including vital information and quick reference material about your senior’s insurance coverage. Having all this in one place will save precious time and stress and let you devote your energy to providing the best care possible for your loved one. Being informed up front about insurance coverage will provide you and your loved one with financial and physical peace of mind in the case of an emergency.