when should I consider getting a patient advocate?

Should You Consider a Patient Advocate When Planning for the New Year?

As the year draws to a close, now is the perfect time to look back on the year and think about your health. It’s likely you have already done this to some extent since this time of year corresponds with open enrollment for insurance and Medicare. You probably spent some time determining how much health care you used, if you received what you needed, and if you had the coverage for it. Then you made your best guess as to what you would need in the coming year, and adjusted your coverage accordingly. Maybe you considered whether you would need the services of a private patient advocate.

Patient advocacy is one of those services not covered by insurance, but there are ways to offset the cost. If you or a loved one ends up needing patient advocacy services in 2020, I encourage you to keep the following in mind:

Long Term Care Insurance. While long term care insurance typically covers custodial, intermediate and skilled levels of care, some policies have a care coordination provision. Also called a personal care adviser benefit or personal care advocate benefit, this provision pays for consultation fees for a professional, such as a social worker, registered nurse, or patient advocate.  Check to see if your policy has this benefit.

An uncovered tax benefit. It’s possible that patient advocacy services can be considered a tax deduction. Like acupuncture (which is a qualified medical benefit), patient advocacy provides a medical benefit—often increasing health care efficiency and lowering medical costs. Please consult with your tax advisor, accountant or attorney for their advice and recommendations.

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