Scenario: Dad had a stroke. He can’t speak. To complicate matters, this happened while he was on a business trip in another state and he is in an HMO. Daughter needs to find out information from the health insurance company about where he can go for skilled nursing/rehab care after discharge from the hospital. Daughter calls insurance company and, of course, they don’t want to speak to her because there is no authorization form on file (and to get one on file can take 2 weeks for processing). The customer service representative will speak to the daughter if her dad gets on the phone, provides his contact information, and gives verbal permission… but daughter had already told representative that HER DAD CAN’T SPEAK as a result of the stroke.
How could this inconvenience and aggravation have been avoided? By having a release of information form completed and on file. Take the time this weekend to print out your health insurer’s “Authorization to Release Information” form, fill it out, and send it in. Then call your insurer in two weeks and make sure they received it.
Here are links to the forms for some health insurers:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois
While this is not the most exciting topic, it is incredibly important and could save you some hassle in a crisis situation.
Also, a reminder that when you call your health insurer, always keep detailed notes from the call and ask for the representative’s name and the reference number for the call. This could come in handy if there’s a dispute later about what you were told.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.