If you or a loved one are getting older, it’s time to starting thinking about advance care planning. The advance care planning process allows you to decide the type of care you want if you encounter a medical crisis. While it isn’t always the most pleasant thing to think about, advance care planning can ensure that you get the best care when you need it the most. Luckily, Medicare provides coverage for advance care planning services. Here’s what you need to know about the advanced care planning process and how to get started.

What is advance care planning? 

Advance care planning is the process of planning for your future with regards to healthcare. There are many aspects of the advance care planning process that are important to work through as you look ahead to the future. The first step is to talk to your family members about your wishes and make sure you are all on the same page. When your family members have a good understanding of the type of care you need, they can be a more effective advocate for you in the future.

It’s also very important to talk with your doctor about your options for future care. In particular, you should discuss any chronic conditions you have and the type of care that may be necessary moving forward. You should also discuss hospice care options to get an idea of what is available.

Once you’ve determined what kind of future care you would prefer, you can create an advance directive. An advance directive is a legal document that you can use to specify which medical decisions you prefer, should you become unable to communicate yourself. Your doctor can provide guidance while creating an advance directive, but you may also want to consider speaking with a lawyer if your future healthcare plans are very complicated.

Does Medicare cover advance care planning? 

Medicare Part B covers an advance care planning visit with your doctor. This can either be as part of your yearly wellness visit, or it can be a separate visit if your doctor deems it medically necessary and accepts assignment. During this visit, patients can discuss many aspects of their future medical care, and they can also set up advance directives if necessary.

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you may also be covered for advance care planning. Medicare Advantage plans are private insurance plans that offer extended coverage beyond what Medicare Parts A & B provide. Check the details of your Medicare Advantage plan to see what type of coverage they can offer.

Advance care planning is a must for older adults. Having an advance directive in place will help you and your family feel more comfortable in the event of a medical emergency. If you’d like to learn more about your Medicare options, contact one of Time for 65’s licensed partnered agents today. Fill out this form or give us a call to see how we can help you get healthcare coverage.