That’s why a living will and healthcare proxy can be essential. Each is a document that explains what medical treatment you want if you become ill and can’t communicate your wishes directly. The living will details the procedures you want or don’t want in these situations. The healthcare proxy lets you name someone whom you want to be in charge of any further decisions about your care or treatment. Requirements and forms for these documents vary from state to state, so be sure yours are valid and up to date.
Be aware that sudden illness or injury may severely incapacitate the person it strikes—so severely that the person cannot take part in deciding how to handle his or her care.
Your lawyer and healthcare providers can usually advise you on what to do in this regard. And once you have the right documents prepared, you should give them to someone who might need quick access to them—your partner, adult children, attorney, or doctor.
If you or someone you love is ill, you may be able to get some help from the government. Medicaid, which is state-run and administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency within the US Department of Health and Human Services, provides insurance to low-income people who have large healthcare costs, particularly nursing home bills. If you qualify, Medicaid may pay for the cost of a nursing home or adult daycare facility.
There are strict limitations concerning who qualifies for Medicaid, and the rules for eligibility vary from state to state. In general, Medicaid recipients are those people who can afford little of the costs of professional care. Medicaid then pays the rest of the bills.
You should also be aware that some nursing facilities don’t readily accept Medicaid patients. And Medicaid itself only pays for nursing homes that meet specific standards. For more information on Medicaid, you can go to the CMS website, medicaid.gov.
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