Forms, forms, forms. Seems the older we get, and the more we deal with the various Sandwich Generation issues, the more they multiply! They can be worse than rabbits sometimes, can't they! Just this week, I had to fill out forms for school and homeschool, doctors and pharmacy, Vacation Bible School, and MORE!
A couple of good things did come out of all this including some reminders for me to share with you. It is so vital for all of us who are caring for our elderly parents to realize that EVEN if YOU are the one who signed your aging parents up for their medicare, prescription, or other medical insurance, the companies are NOT allowed to talk to you without written permission, due to the HIPAA law.
I was reminded of this when I took a prescription into our pharmacy for my senior mom. Due to a glitch of some kind, it was denied and the pharmacist thought we didn't even have that insurance anymore. I immediately called the company, but because we had not filled out their HIPAA form, giving them permission to talk to me, they could not discuss any of the situation with me. And since my mom was at home, I would have had to drive home, call them there for her to verbally give permission, then drive back to deal with the problem. Fortunately, they COULD talk to the pharmacist. He got on the line, they had him retry it, and it turned out to be some kind of internet glitch and the second time it went through well.
Three important lessons for all of us in the Sandwich Generation – as this can impact our grandkids' medical needs as well as our senior parents:
- If the pharmacy sends in the request for medication approval and it gets denied but you are sure it should be covered, have them run it through one more time to be sure.
- When you sign an elderly parent up for insurance of any kind, immediately request they send a form out that will allow them to talk to you – fill it out – and send it back ASAP. Otherwise, you will probably forget and kick yourself when it causes you massive headaches later!
- If you have NOT filled out that form OR they can't find a record that you did (don't laugh – that's happened to us too!), see if they are allowed to talk to one of the staff people helping you. In this case, they were allowed to talk to the pharmacist and if it had been more than a technical glitch, hopefully he could have helped us all get it straightened out.
Once again, "be prepared" is a vital motto for all of us in the Sandwich Generation – not to mention, be flexible! Have you run into this problem before? Got more tips for us? We'd love to hear. And…