We Support Bill AB533; How We Help the Partner at Home

Recently a client brought our attention to an article in the LA Timesabout going to an in-network hospital but being unknowingly treated by out-of-network doctors at that hospital. The client was concerned that this would be out of their hands if it should happen to them, as they should be. We encourage you to read this excellent article here.
 
The article mentions Bill AB533, which is a California bill that would protect patients to only have to pay in-network costs at an in-network facility, regardless of the insurance status of individual doctors. We are in full support of this bill for the obvious reason that it is very difficult—especially in an emergency situation—to determine what doctor is in-network and what doctor is out-of-network.
 
We support doctors and feel they should get paid a generous salary for their skills and we also have had many clients who have the experience discussed in the article. 
 
For example, a few weeks ago we had a client go to a doctor who wedetermined was in-network for the insurance company they chose to enroll with.  The client went to see the doctor, who was now at a different facility and had not informed the insurance company of this change. The doctor was not contracted with the new facility yet and the client got slapped with an out-of-network bill. This is an example of how even though the doctor was listed with the insurance carrier, it was old information.  Unfortunately, there is no system in place to guarantee that the information brokers see is correct. 
 
Because the doctor’s office did not verify insurance for the client, and the doctor made no mention of the change,  this was an example of how correct information fell through the cracks. We work very hard for our clients and do everything we can to get them the best help they can, but this is a perfect example of why we hope this bill passes.
 
What can you do to prevent this situation from happening to you?  When you call your doctor to make an appointment, ask them to verify your in-network benefits prior to visit.  You may even want to do this every time you visit the doctor, just to make sure everything is working as you think it is.
 
Financial Hope for Stay at Home Partners Planning for Retirement
 
It’s so easy to not plan for the future! We live in an instant gratification world where the distractions of our daily reality are constantly before us. It is too easy to live for the moment and forget about retirement planning.
 
Creating a plan for your future can mean many things.  It could include assessing your assets and investments, creating wills and trusts, moving onto Medicare health insurance, or whether or not you need long-term care or disability insurance, to name a few.  
 
According to the highly respected Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, stay at home partners are, on whole, “less optimistic about retirement, less prepared, less likely to be saving or to have a strategy or back-up plan.” Stay at home partners are often completely reliant upon the family bread winner, they are largely unprotected in the event of their partners’ job loss, significant illness, injury or untimely death.
 
The prospect of separation or divorce can be terrifying, and pre-nuptial agreements may actually compound the financial exposure of the stay at home partner .
We strongly believe that women and men in this position need their own measure of financial security.
 
So what can and should be done to honor these people’s security? Here are a few things to consider:
 
Don’t Keep Your Partner in the Dark Financially.
Very often, the day-to-day financial duties of actually managing a home are carried out by one individual, while the other partner is nearly clueless. That arrangement may work very efficiently until something goes wrong. Cooperation and the sharing of information takes conscious effort but, in the long run, is clearly the wisest course. In the long run, simple awareness is this partner’s first line of defense.
 
Organize Your Family Records.
In the face of disaster, having to frantically forage for vital documents compounds the pain and anguish of family members. A conscious sustained effort should be made to gather and organize records which are vital to your financial security.
ALL significant parties within the home should know where those records are maintained.  Sometimes, even children or secondary parties, are permitted access in case of dire emergencies.
 
Maintain Adequate Insurance.
What is adequate?
If the family bread winner is stricken, insurance should be able to clear the household of debt, cover costs of educating minors, and provide enough income for living expenses. You’ll also want to make sure the beneficiary’s name is correctly designated on each policy.
Working with a good financial advisor who will understand and appreciate the need for partners to be aware and on board with their shared financial decisions is a must.
As financial advisors, helping people to define their monetary goals and then to structure their shared finances accordingly is a large part of what we do.
We would love the chance to map out a path to greater financial security with you.