At Inspired Financial, we work with a wide variety of professionals that serve our clients in tax, legal, insurance, and other services. We enjoy collaborative relationships with our colleagues and often share our expertise with them to help them better serve all their clients. Recently, we prepared this blog with suggestions for when their clients are facing a prolonged hospital stay. This already unhappy situation can be made much worse without preparation and we thought our clients would appreciate these tips, too. Call if you have questions or we can help you be better prepared!
The current pandemic has dramatically changed the daily routine for most of us. Especially in current hotspots, it is critical to have masks and access to handwashing or sanitizers available pretty much every time you step outside your door.
As the number of those infected rise, you may have the experience of family, friends, or clients coming down with serious illness. How can you help them be prepared for a prolonged illness or hospital stay?
No one is truly prepared to be sick, but if you help your clients plan in advance for the logistics of illness, they can use more of their energy for healing instead of struggling to get help. This is a checklist of what we all need to do to be prepared before a prolonged illness strikes.
Use Automatic Bill Pay
Use one credit card for every bill possible and ideally nothing else, and then pay that credit card off each month in full using automatic bill pay through your checking.
Why go this route instead of checking directly? It is much easier to challenge a credit card mistake than it is to get money returned to your checking account.
Simplify Your Finances
The fewer accounts you have floating out there, the less likely mistakes will occur and money will be lost. Ideally you should have no more than one account each for your checking, savings, workplace investing, Roth, IRA, and taxable brokerage account. Have two credit cards you use – ideally one for bill pay and one for everything else.
Prepare Your Advance Directives
Our clients have all completed their estate planning documents and advanced directives, so they are all set. How about your clients? The current environment creates opportunities for us all to have conversations with our clients about preparing for incapacity or death that might have been more uncomfortable, in the past. So ask! If your clients are prepared with current estate documents and advanced directives, this is a good time to have a conversation with the person who will act as their power of attorney and their health care surrogate to make sure they understand their duties and your client’s wishes.
Understand Your Health Insurance
Most insurance companies are providing breaks for coronavirus treatment. However, with our convoluted billing system, it is possible your client could face billing snafus. They should know what doctors and hospitals are covered under their insurance and stick to those providers to prevent out of network billing issues.
While in the hospital, continually insist they use providers who are in network, and on all financial documents, add the line, “Use in-network providers and services only.” Document as much as possible about the services provided in case billing issues arise later.
Have a Pet Care Plan
If you have pets, create a pet care plan that outlines their feeding schedule, special needs, and veterinarian contact. If you don’t have someone willing to care for your pet, ask your vet if they can recommend someone or find a pet sitter on Rover.com.
As planners, this type of preparedness is second nature to us (ask me about my earthquake “grab-and-go” boxes, sometime) but it isn’t for everyone. Whether it’s from COVID-19 or another health crisis, we all have a unique opportunity as our clients’ trusted professional advisors to help ensure that they’re as ready as possible for a prolonged illness and can focus on their most important priority: getting well soon. Don’t be afraid to have these conversations and be sure to call us if we can help you with them!
In the meantime, wash your hands, wear a mask, and keep your distance!