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
familycaregiverweb.com from which this article is