UNITED STATES—Hi Toni: Recently, I had a bad car wreck and ended up in the hospital with only a minor concussion from hitting the windshield and my wife was not hurt at all. I was surprised when the hospital asked for my medical power of attorney. I am 64 years old and have not even thought about long term care or end of life planning. Now with COVID-19, it seems like everything medically, legally, and financially is upside down.
I work for an energy company with an average 401K and have always felt as if I could take care of me or my wife if a serious health issue occurred. I am not sure what I should do financially or insurance wise. The financial company which handles my 401K has never discussed these types of issues with me. What do I need to do? Steve from Tulsa, OK
Steve: Great question because America is now realizing how fast our lives can change with the coronavirus issues that we are experiencing. Now is the time to begin putting a plan together for future long-term care needs for both you, your wife and family while one is in good or average health.
Let’s discuss what financial and legal documents you will want to have in place to protect yourself, your spouse, and your family.
Legal documents to protect yourself, your spouse, and your family:
1) Power of Attorney for you and your spouse is the cornerstone of a financial management plan. It ensures that a person’s wishes will be respected if there comes a time when he or she is unable to act. It is a written document whereby someone is appointed to manage that person’s financial affairs in the event of illness or incapacity.
2) Medical Power of Attorney (known as a Health Care Power of Attorney) gives someone you trust the legal authority to act on your behalf regarding health care decisions if you ever become incapacitated or unable to communicate.
3) Living Will is a written statement that details the type of care you want (or do not want) if you become incapacitated. A living will bear no relation to the conventional will or living trust used to leave property at death; it is strictly a place to spell out your health care preferences or wishes.
Long Term Care and Insurance Planning:
1) Long-Term Care plan options for you and your spouse:
- Traditional Long-Term Care: Many insurance companies have changed underwriting rules due to COVID-19. Search for a policy while under 65 and in relatively good health. Make sure that the policy covers care at home and facility care. Over 65, long term care plan underwriting has changed with various long-term care insurance plan available.
- Hybrid Life and Annuity Policies: Many life/annuity insurance policies have a provision if you need long term care. Maybe a good option if past 65 with changes to long term care plan’s underwriting due to COVID-19.
2) Life Insurance for you and your spouse: Term, Universal or Whole life as coverage if you are losing your life insurance from your employer benefits when you retire. Many only have life insurance with work and cannot qualify due to health issues when they retire and lose their company group life insurance plan. Additional life products outside of work may be a good option.
Remember, Christopher Reeves did not think he would fall off a horse. Even Superman can have his life changed in a split second. Always be prepared!
Toni King, author of the Medicare Survival Guide® is giving a $5 discount on the Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced book at www.tonisays.com. Have a Medicare question? Email Toni at firstname.lastname@example.org.