1) File health insurance claims
Skip the migraine and hire a claims-assistance professional. These experts have a comprehensive understanding of health insurance and act as your advocate, making sure that your insurer is covering you appropriately and that you’re being reimbursed correctly. A CAP will sort your medical bills and paperwork, then file and track your claims and appeal denied claims when necessary. They can also help keep your documents organized.
For a referral to a CAP near you, visit the nonprofit Alliance of Claims Assistance Professionals website (claims.org). There’s no current formal license for a CAP, but she should have experience working for providers or health plans in an administrative, legal or clinical capacity.
2) Care for your elderly parents
A geriatric-care manager can help to assess which services your parents need. Then, she can help you get those services at a price you can afford, says Liz Barlowe, fellow at the National Association of the Professional Geriatric Care Managers and CEO of Innovate Today LLC, an eldercare consulting and training firm. In addition to hiring a home aide and going with your parents to medical appointments, GCMs can help to decipher Medicaid or Medicare paperwork.
To find a care manager and to figure out if she’s qualified, visit the NAPGCM site (caremanager.org). Be sure that your GCM has a professional degree related to aging, such as nursing, gerontology, social work or health administration. She should also have experience and completed testing for certification as one of the following: a Care Manager Certified (CMC), a Certified Case Manager (CCM), a Certified Advanced Social Work Case Manager (C-ASWCM), or a Certified Social Work Case Manager (C-SWCM). Request references and get the fees and provision of services in writing.
Cost: Services range nationally, $75-100/hr
3) Talk about money with your family
To help your siblings and parents open up about sensitive money topics--inheritance, taxes and distribution of assets--hire a personal financial advisor. A PFA can mediate touchy family discussions, then can help you develop a concrete plan.
The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors recommends that you find a Fee-only Advisor who is paid only by you, not with a commission on the financial products she sells. Visit the NAPFA website (napfa.org) to find fee-only advisors in your area. Referrals by close acquaintances, your attorney or your accountant are also a fine option, says Benjamin Lewis of NAPFA. Make sure your advisor has an advanced education in financial planning--investments, taxes, insurance, or estate planning—as well as a college degree. She should also be committed to continuing her education.
4) Get affairs in order after a death
A professional organizer specializing in estate planning can be “the sanity during a crisis,” says Patty Ribera, Certified Professional Organizer. An estate organizer presents you with an inventory of paperwork you need to gather and can help you figure out where any documents are located. She will then put you in touch with the necessary people—attorneys, banks--to handle the papers.
To find a CPO in your area, Ribera suggests visiting the National Association of Professional Organizers directory on their website (NAPO.net). Professional organizers specialize in a variety of areas, so be sure that the CPO has a certification for life documents. She should also have experience, training, and have passed the Certified Professional Organizer examination, conducted by the Board of Certification for Professional Organizers (BCPO).
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