Qualifying Life Event

Where to Keep Your Will

I was recently asked for my advice on where to store important documents. With so many of us relying on computers today, safe deposit boxes and in-home fire boxes may seem terribly out of date. However, each of these storage devices has a place in safe-keeping our records.

It is a good idea to keep hard copies of your will, power of attorney forms and any advance directives where they are safe, but easily accessible. Hospitals usually request a copy of your medical power of attorney and living will any time you are admitted for treatment. A trusted family member or the person you designate as your representative should know where to find these papers so your wishes will be followed in the event of an unexpected emergency.
Many people mistakenly keep their only copy of these documents in a bank safe deposit box. But storing them in a bank may prevent anyone from accessing them when they are needed. Banks usually require court papers before they allow anyone other than you to open your safe deposit box.

Bank safe deposit boxes remain your best choice for protecting jewelry, valuables and original documents you do not need often, including original birth certificates, property deeds, social security cards, paper bonds and securities.

As an added level of security, you can duplicate and store copies of important papers on a computer thumb drive kept with your valuables. Consider duplicating these:
– Insurance policies and agent contact information
– Original will and powers of attorney
– Passport
– Digital files of family photos
– Living wills and advance care directives

One last suggestion . . . keep a list of your access information and passwords for your digital files in a safe storage location or a secure website. Include access information for your computer, cellphone, bank records, google account and other social media accounts and let someone you trust know where to find this info. This step will save you time and frustration in case you are unable to access your accounts on your own.

Safeguarding your documents and valuables is a personal decision. You may want to discuss your situation and needs with a lawyer, financial advisor or other trusted professional.

How to Avoid Problems with a New Insurance Plan

Every year, many people like you take the opportunity during the Open Enrollment period to make changes in their insurance. If you made changes, there are a few things you can do now to avoid problems getting started with your new plan.

1. If you are dropping any insurance coverage including Medicare Supplements, Vision or Dental coverage, make sure you have cancelled you coverage with your insurer. Your insurance may not be automatically cancelled when you switch plans. Although some companies will cancel and make changes over the phone, others require a written request so give your insurer a call and ask what they require.

2. Cancel your automatic withdrawals for your old plan. I recommend you cancel your withdrawal with the insurance company and then follow up with a call to your financial institution to make sure the automatic withdrawal is stopped.

3. Tell your doctor that you have different insurance. If your doctor unknowingly files for reimbursement with the wrong insurance company, it will cause confusion and delays in payment. Let your doctors know about your new plan the first time you see them in 2018.

4. Check your Prescription Drug coverage to find out which pharmacies are the preferred pharmacies for your plan. If it is a different pharmacy than the one you have been using, arrange to transfer your prescriptions now so they have your information ahead of time. You should also present your new insurance cards to your pharmacy before you need your next prescription. Don’t wait until you need a refill or have an emergency before you make this change.

5. Determine whether your new plan has different requirements for your prescriptions. Some plans may require a pre-authorization before your prescription will be filled. Take steps ahead of time to let your physician know what is required by your new plan.

For your other questions on Life, Health, Dental, Vision, Annuities or Medicare Advantage Plans, please contact me at 440-255-5700 or email Lmutsko@mutskoinsurance.com.