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How do I take control of my elderly parent’s healthcare?

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As our parents age, it often becomes our responsibility to care and provide for them. This often includes the management of their healthcare. At MedicareInsurance.com, you can contact us via our online chat feature or give us a call at (800) 950-0608 to learn more about your parent’s health insurance options.

Just the Essentials…

  • In the event that your elderly parent begins to require assistance in making their own healthcare decisions, it is possible to gain the authority to do so for them.

  • Doing so requires both you and your parent to adhere to a clearly defined legal process involving a few key pieces of paperwork.

  • Taking control of your parent’s healthcare will require their express permission prior to a medical emergency or life-threatening event.

  • It is important to speak to your parent about this possibility well in advance to make sure everything is set in place.

How do I even begin to manage my parent’s healthcare?

Taking over healthcare decisions for a parent is a major step. Unfortunately, this is not the easiest thing to do. Taking over your parent’s healthcare means that you, their child, will be making medical and financial decisions for them legally in certain situations. 

Taking on this responsibility is a valiant effort, but what goes into managing your parent’s healthcare on their behalf? What documents are required, and what limits does this decision-making power have? Find out right here at MedicareInsurance.com.

What paperwork is required for me to be able to make healthcare decisions for my parent?

Obtaining medical information that pertains to your parents, or eventually gaining the authority to make medical or healthcare decisions for your parents, requires you to take a few legal steps beforehand. 

Often, these steps require various forms of paperwork including the following:

  • HIPAA Authorization Form
  • Advanced Healthcare Directive
  • Power of Attorney

Without these documents, gaining the power to make medical decisions for your elderly parent can become much more challenging. For example, you may have to pursue more difficult legal options (such as guardianship) down the line in the event that you need to make key decisions for your parent.

What is a HIPAA Authorization Form?

HIPAA stands for the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act. It is a federal law that sets legal standards for the handling and release of health care information. HIPAA makes sure that no one can access someone’s personal health information without their permission, including family members. 

The HIPAA Authorization form is simple and only takes a few minutes to complete. The document is made available at every doctor’s office. If your parent has more than one doctor, ask them to fill out a form for each one, granting you permission to access their health information.

Why are Advanced Healthcare Directives important?

When it comes to the healthcare of elderly loved ones, many adult children and other family members can often find themselves in quite a pickle: not knowing what their loved one wants in the event of a medical emergency. 

Creating an Advanced Healthcare Directive before your parent gets sick or has a medical emergency is the best way to make sure their wishes are followed. The Advanced healthcare Directive provides detailed instructions on your parent’s medical wishes in the event that they are incapable of making healthcare decisions on their own. Sometimes, this document is referred to as a “living will.”

A living will outlines what type of treatment your parents wish to receive in a medical emergency where they are unconscious or their life is at risk. This document can also include clear directives regarding the use of life-sustaining equipment in unresponsive patients (feeding tubes, breathing equipment, etc.) and comfort management in the form of pain medication.

What is a Power of Attorney?

A “durable power of attorney” or a “medical power of attorney” is the second part of an Advanced Healthcare Directive. If you become the designated agent in a power of attorney agreement, you will be able to access medical information and make medical decisions in accordance with your parent’s living will and HIPAA authorization form.

In the event that you wish to become the power of attorney for both of your parents, each parent will need to separately  decide to authorize you as their agent. Your parent will also have the power to decide what decisions their agent can make about their healthcare. It’s important to remember that this power of attorney has to be signed by your parents while they are still deemed physically and mentally capable to make their own decisions.

So, is it possible to take over healthcare decisions for my parent?

Under current law, adult children and family members may only make healthcare decisions for their loved one if that person gives them permission to do so before emergency strikes. 

Each individual person has the right to decide what specific decisions a designated family member can make about their healthcare needs. 

If you are concerned about your parent’s health, try calling a family meeting to talk about what can be done about it in the future. It is important that you work alongside your parents and your family to find a solution that works well for everyone.

To learn more about your parent’s potential Medicare benefits and what plans may work best for them, don’t hesitate to contact MedicareInsurance.com by phone at (800) 950-0608 or utilize our online chat feature to get in touch with a licensed live agent. Our team of specialists will be happy to assist you.

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