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  • Writer's pictureRhonda Benson

Health Care Planning

Grim statistic: Rather than die peacefully or unexpectedly, most people will instead become incapacitated and be unable to make decisions or care for themselves. This means that many of us will not be competent to direct our care or express our wishes in a manner that healthcare providers will honor. If you have not prepared healthcare planning documents, your fate may end up in the hands of individuals who do not know or care about your wishes. You must prepare and you must prepare now because disability and incapacity often come without any warning.

In the past, a health care power of attorney and a living will may have been sufficient preparation for the likelihood of incapacity. Then along came the government. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) was designed to make health insurance portable for employees, but it also imposed strict rules for the release of private medical information which have caused havoc for individuals who have not designated individuals in advance.

Healthcare providers, in efforts to comply with HIPAA’s rules, regularly refuse to provide family members with critical information about the medical conditions of their loved ones. The problem is that once disabled, a person may no longer be able to grant the necessary authorization. Abusive and neglectful caregivers have been known to hide behind these rules, while loved ones are denied recourse. This is of particular concern for LGBT couples who are regularly denied access and information by systems which may not recognize their relationship, and if so, only after a costly and life-threatening delay.

One critical reason to have an estate plan is to address these issues. The Law Collaborative will draft custom, enhanced healthcare planning documents which express your hopes and desires in language that your family and loved ones can understand, and that healthcare providers will follow. These include our exclusive and specially drafted enhanced Advanced Health Care Directive, Living Will, Healthcare Power of Attorney, and HIPAA Authorization.

Because these documents are useless locked up in a desk, our clients also receive a complimentary one-year enrollment in a service that maintains these important legal documents so they can be accessed by medical professionals anywhere in the world in case of emergency. The subscription provides a wallet card with a toll-free number for access to these critical documents and it also lists family members to contact, your primary care physician, allergies, and medical conditions.

We care about our clients and we want them to be protected when they need it most. To take advantage of our complimentary estate planning consultation call us today at (818) 348-6700 or send us an email.

Article by Ron Supancic, Esq., CFLS, AAML, and shared courtesy of The Law Collaborative

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