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How to Handle the Insurance Flood
By Evangelina Vela


(Page 2 of 2)

Whenever possible, talk to the person in charge of insurance at your doctors’ offices. They should be able to help explain at least their part of the paperwork. If they are nice, they might be willing and able to answer general questions about some of your other paperwork. Remember, they have a vested interest in helping you. They want to be paid. Try calling only one office a day if your time during office hours is limited. If you get a call from an office that you are not prepared to deal with, tell them you will have to call them back and make an appointment for a particular day. Make sure you find out the name of person to talk to and the best time to reach them. Also, if any of the offices or hospitals have social workers available, talk to them. They are supposed to understand the paperwork.

If your loved one is receiving disability or retirement income, call the representative at your insurance company. The ones I have talked to have always been very good at explaining what I need to understand. Ask the representative if they need a signed W-4, an Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, to tell them that you are exempt from taxes (if you are). Otherwise, they may take the highest percentage allowed for taxes out of any disability income or retirement income checks you receive. The W-4 usually needs to be signed and sent to them once a year at the beginning of the year.

Last, for your own sanity, take some time to laugh. Read something funny, or watch a funny movie. It will improve your outlook and help you smile. You need to be at your best to help your loved one best. And remember, you are not alone.

Evangelina Vela has been a caregiver for her husband for over seven years. She is a Texas state coordinator for the National Family Caregivers Association and is the content manager for from which this article is reprinted.


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