"No one can face illness and its vicissitudes alone. Above all, the patient needs companions who can reliably educate, support and guide her...AfterShock can serve as another important companion."
— Jerome Groopman, MD, Dina and Raphael Recanati Professor, Harvard Medical School
Staying on top of your expenses while you or a loved one is ill may require seeking help from experts. Appendix I provides information on topics such as finding a financial planner, tips for lowering health care costs, prescription drug assistance programs, and public insurance. Advanced directives, living wills and medical power of attorney are also discussed.
A small sample of resources from the appendices in the 2010 edition of AfterShock were reviewed and updated in June 2014. No further updates are anticipated.
The National Association of Personal Financial Planners can evaluate your budget, suggest changes in your investments, set up a bill payment plan and help you with tax and insurance questions. (800) 366-2732.
The Patient Advocate Foundation is a nonprofit organization that can work with insurers, creditors and employers on coverage appeals, employee benefits and bill payment. The foundation also offers crisis housing and debt assistance. The website contains a state-by-state searchable database of local organizations that provide similar services. (800) 532-5274.
Forbes article, "Eight Ways to Cut Your Doctor Bill," offers tips about how to approach negotiating lower fees for health care services.
The Partnership for Prescription Assistance is a clearinghouse for more 475 public and private programs that help patients without prescription coverage get the medicine they need for free or nearly free. You can search for programs that cover your medicines and download application forms for some programs on the website or request information over the phone at the toll-free number. (888) 477-2669.
Medicare. If you have a catastrophic illness and know that it will push you beyond your means, you may want to start the process to apply for public support. You may already be enrolled in a public program and want to learn how to take further advantage of what they offer. Or you may not realize that your condition allows you to enroll in programs such as Medicare, which you might have thought was out of reach at your age. (800) MEDICARE / (800) 633-2273 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week).
The American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging offers several health care decision tools on its website, including a consumer's toolkit for advance health care planning and a pamphlet specifically on advance directives that includes a sample form.