Your aging client has a medical emergency. Decisions on hospitals, rehab, and overall health care coverage arise. Your client’s adult children call Medicare to obtain information, only to discover that Medicare will not release information to anyone but the insured individual. The problem is compounded by situations where the parent is hospitalized and visitation is not allowed.
An important part of a financial plan is making sure essential legal documents are in place. The typical list includes a will, financial power of attorney, durable health care power of attorney and living will. An additional document you should add to this list is a Medicare Authorization to Disclose Personal Health Information form. This form enables an individual, usually a spouse or adult child, to discuss their loved one’s Medicare coverage, handle claims and obtain information on a variety of issues. This becomes particularly important when an individual has a medical event that leaves them unable to call Medicare and ask the inevitable health care insurance questions that arise. A power of attorney is not sufficient for Medicare. Only the covered person or anyone designated on the above referenced form can obtain information. If your client has a Medicare Advantage Plan, the plan provider can provide their own version of the form. Note that the form allows access for one year.
A conversation with clients regarding this form creates an easy environment to broaden the conversation into preparedness for custodial care needs. While much of the demographic focus in our industry focuses on the baby boom generation (now age 57-75), Gen X now comprises 65 million Americans age 41-56. It is estimated that 40 – 50% of this group is insurable and has the financial resources to invest in a long term care insurance product. When discussing the Medicare Authorization form with your baby boomer clients, it is often their Gen X adult children that should be named as representative. The Gen X generation is quickly reaching an ideal time of life to consider a personal plan for custodial care. While you put them in a position to handle parental Medicare issues in times of need, broaden your client base by providing a custodial care solution for their financial plan.
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Peter Stahl CFP®
The information in this presentation is provided as a general overview. It is derived from the Internal Revenue Code, Medicare.gov and other government publications, all subject matter sources reasonably believed to be reliable. Tax law and the laws governing Medicare/Medicaid are complex and subject to change. Clients should consult with their attorney and/or qualified tax advisor when making decisions regarding these matters.