Don’t Let The Hospitals Decide For You
Make Your Wishes Known In A Living Will and Supporting Estate Planning Documents
How Dying Can Be Very Expensive
While we like to think that hospitals make their money on savings lives, hospitals also make money on death. I’m not implying that hospitals want people to die or cause people to die, but the bottom line is that one day we will all die, and when that day comes there will be nothing the hospital can do to save us.
But they will try, and they will bill us for it.
You will be gone, so who will foot the bill? The short answer, your estate. The long answer, your family will.
According to an article from CBS news, in 2008 “Medicare paid $50 billion for doctor and hospital bills during the last two months of patients’ lives – that’s more than the budget of the Department of Homeland Security or the Department of Education…..and it has been estimated that 20 to 30 percent of these medical expenditures may have had no meaningful impact.” And that’s just Medicaid, not counting any private insurances or patients who end up paying “out of pocket”.
So what does the cost of end of life care have to do with living wills and estate planning? Well, the average cost of keeping a patient on life support is anywhere from $2,000-$4,000 PER DAY (sometimes more). If you were held on life support by a hospital for 30 days that’s $120,000.00 in medical bills. If your insurance company decides to deny that payment for whatever reason, the hospital is going to make it patient responsibility. When the cost of other procedures and medications and treatments is all added up, you can see how somebody’s life savings can be quickly depleted, leaving their family with nothing once they pass.
How Can You Protect Your Life Savings With A Living Will
What is commonly called a living will, but in Connecticut statutes is called a Healthcare Directive, is a document where you make it known what procedures you want the hospitals to perform on you. Whether you want resuscitative care, blood transfusions, and life support; OR NOT. If you do not have healthcare directives, the hospital will decide for you.
If your Living Will says you don’t want to be on life support, or you don’t want to be on life support for more than a certain time, then the hospital must honor those wishes!
If your Healthcare Power of Attorney gives the power to somebody you trust to make the decisions for you, then the hospitals must allow them to make those decisions.
You will also need a HIPAA privacy waiver, or the hospital cannot share your personal medical information with anybody, even if they are your Healthcare Power of Attorney.
By having a living will and other estate planning documents in place, you take the power to decide away from the hospitals. If you do nothing the hospital will decide. But there is one more consideration….
Just Writing Something Down Isn’t Enough, There Are Requirements
In order to have full force and effect, your healthcare directives (living will, poa, HIPAA waiver) have to contain certain language and be signed in a certain way, or the hospitals can ignore them! You need to have an experienced, licensed and insured Connecticut attorney draft your documents and make sure they are signed in the proper method so they are effective.
While this may sound pricey, we offer a flat fee healthcare directives package that includes:
- A Living Will containing your wishes regarding treatment; and
- A Healthcare Power of Attorney for appointment of your healthcare representative; and
- A HIPAA Waiver so the hospital can give your healthcare representative the information they will need to make decisions on your behalf in case of incapacity; and
- A Financial Power of Attorney to allow somebody your trust to manage your finances if you are unable to.
All four documents, custom drafted for you by one of our attorneys, with unlimited revisions, and a meeting to make sure they are properly signed, is only $400. All we need is for you to pick a date for signing the documents, answer a few questions, make a secure payment, and we can begin getting your flat fee living will and healthcare directives package ready for signing.