I am caring for a loved one with Medicare. What are the most important things for me to know?

Section XII.c. Caring for a Loved One
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To get the information you need, you will need to talk to your loved one and do some research on your own. You may have to bring up some uncomfortable topics with your loved one, such as end-of-life issues and finances. While it may be difficult to have these discussions, it is important that you talk to your loved one before she has a health crisis to ensure that she gets the best possible care.

If you are caring for a loved one with Medicare, you should know:

  • How does Medicare work? How does your loved one get her Medicare benefits? What doctors and services does your loved one's Medicare provider cover?
  • What are your loved one's health care needs? What conditions does she have? What medications does she take? What conditions and surgeries has she had in the past?
  • Where does your loved one keep important information? Where does she keep documents like her emergency contact list, the names and contact numbers of her doctors, birth certificate, Medicare card and bank statements?
  • What are your loved one's health care preferences? In the event that she can no longer communicate her wishes, what kind of treatment would she want? Has she legally appointed someone to make decisions on her behalf?
  • Are your loved one's health care needs covered? Can your loved one pay for her current health care needs? Will she be able to in the future? If she needs it, will she be able to afford long-term care (at home or in a living facility)? What kind of health care and prescription drug coverage does your loved one have?
  • What help is available for your loved one? What kinds of services does your loved one's health plan cover? Where else can you find services to help your loved one?
  • Where can you as a caregiver go for help? What is your right to assistance? What support services are available in your area?

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Can my state give me more rights and protections than federal law regarding Medigap plan enrollment?

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GO TO
What is Medicare?

What does Medicare cover (Parts A, B, C and D)?

What do I need to know about my loved one's health?

What are my rights to make medical treatment decisions for my loved one?

What do I need to know about my loved one's finances?

What do I need to know about my loved one's health insurance?

Will Medicare help me care for my loved one at home?

Will Medicare pay for me to take a break from caregiving (respite care)?

How can I take care of myself while taking care of my loved one?

 
LINKS
American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN)

MyMedicare.gov: Access your Medicare information

The Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program

National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Information

American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA)

State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) Directory

 
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