Saturday, September 17, 2005

Caregiving and Medical Insurance donnybrook Pt II

What can you do? Preparation is the best lesson to be drawn because of the uniqueness of each caregiving situation and story.


Many if not most home caregiving scenarios may not even involve private medical insurance. I realize we were and am blessed with such insurance for maximum treatment options and medications for MS.


The 2000 hour donnybrook was necessitated because of the retroactive cancellation of medical insurance and impending family bankruptcy. Regardless of whether it was driven by malicious and conspiratorial accounting or institutionalized ineptness, as a caregiver I was blindsided and overwhelmed. All burden of proof and correction is placed on you. 


Find and secure original documents establishing medical ins policy and each change in carrier as far back as necessary prior to disability or disease. In our case this involved 4 corporate mergers and 13 years of documentation. With Patti's memory gone I had to back track through hours of phone calls, old and older friends of friends to find people who used to be personel office workers, etc.




COMPLETE and FILE ‘representative forms’ for each insurance co.


KEEP each and every medical claim and payment record


REVIEW and UPDATE medical provider’s contact information


SCAN above into your PC. COPY to separate CD or DVD, to keep in safety deposit box outside home. UPDATE regularly.


WRITE letters for inquiries, confirmations, etc. PRODUCE a paper trail.


If you must engage in conversations, ask for a confirmation letter. After any phone conversation write a memo to file including date, time of call, person you spoke to, details, outcome, etc.


As a fail safe, BUY a digital answering machine. RECORD critical phone conversations regarding medical insurance. TRANSFER to digital audio files on your PC, COPY to your storage CD or DVD. (Yes it is unprincipled and potentially illegal in some situations but so is ‘retroactive’ cancellation.)  People will 'say' things that they will not put in writing; however once you have a digital file it's all really the same in a doonybrook.


Transferring to PC, reduces storage dramatically and facilitates and simplifies organization. Your ability to access information and to “send” via email or fax becomes as fast, if not faster, than theirs. … COPY regularly to a CD or DVD is imperative. Your PC or hard drive is not something to ‘depend’ on. You’ve invested too much valuable time - independent back up storage is essential.


If you maintain vigilant records regularly you’ll never have to play catch up. If everything is just a click away you may never need to know the overwhelming suffocation of reconstructing 5 to 13 years of medical insurance records while bankruptcy pounds on the door.


BE PREPARED!  When the hammer falls FIGHT BACK! Predators always prefer “easy” prey.


  1. This is really great info you've posted in the last two entries.  I will save these for future references.  Your experiences - good or bad - can only benefit your readers.  Thank you.

  2. Very valuable info...
    I happened to see your link in Deb's, "making of a home" journal. I'm glad I clicked on the link. I will be back.

    Mia ~ caregiver and mother

  3. I need to print this out and really digest it all. I am currently working on my first "pile" of paperwork I.E getting help from the Copaxone people for help with the $250.00 a month co-pay my insurance doesn't cover...yech.


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