You may be surprised, but planning your estate is a valid and effective part of preventative health care. Preventative health ensures that you live a long and vital life. However, many individuals aren’t able to make the important connection between estate planning and preventative health care. We’re here to make that connection for you, and provide all the information you need to get started. Keep reading to learn:
What is Preventative Health Care?
Preventative health care refers to practices that help prevent illness, disease, and other risk factors that can greatly impact your vitality and longevity. Preventative care is typically a plan put together by your primary physician, but some may supplement their medical plan with personal practices as well. When thinking about what it means to live a long and vital life, you should also be thinking about estate planning. After all, having a plan in place will help lower stress and anxiety levels stemming from “what-ifs” and put your mind at ease.
Preventative health care services should be differentiated from diagnostic care services. Preventative health refers to routine services and screenings to detect any possible signs of illness, but with the underlying assumption that all is well. Diagnostic care, however, is when a doctor orders tests or screens to discover a specific diagnosis. For example, a physician may order a mammogram specifically to detect the presence of cancer after feeling a patient’s lump during a check-up visit.
Why Is Preventative Health Care Important?
As the name suggests, the point of preventative health care is to prevent illness or disease. Moreover, if illness or disease comes up, preventative health helps to identify it as early on as possible, so that an intervention can take place.
Because of this, preventative health is an important practice that can improve your overall quality of life, and help reduce the likelihood of becoming very sick with an illness or disease. Further, detecting and treating medical issues as early on as possible can significantly reduce your medical expenses.
If you’re not already seeking medical attention that’s preventative in nature, you should seriously consider doing so. There would be nothing worse than finding out too late that a terminal disease has developed in your body without you having any clue about it.
What Are Some Examples of Preventative Health Care?
Preventative health care is a broad umbrella, so much so that the industry is valued at several hundred billion dollars. Each person is bio-individual, so a preventative health care plan can vary greatly from person to person. Factors include age, gender, medical history, and preference. Here are some examples of preventative health care to help you get an idea of what could be entailed:
Examples of Preventative Health Care for Adults
Screening for blood pressure, cholesterol, cancer, hepatitis, and sexually-transmitted diseases
Screening and counseling for diabetes or obesity
Counseling for depression, diet, smoking cessation
Examples of Preventative Health Care for Women
Breast cancer screening
Cervical cancer screening
Breastfeeding support and counseling
Contraception counseling and prescription
Examples of Holistic Preventative Health Care
Yoga and meditation
Diet and nutrition
Stress and anxiety management
Easter medicine practices
Mindset conditioning, such as positivity and abundance
Is Estate Planning a Form of Preventative Health Care?
Estate planning is without a doubt a form of preventative health care! Planning your estate is a valid and effective way to support your plan for longevity, and should absolutely be a part of your long-term health care plan.
The essence of estate planning is to give yourself a sense of empowerment and control over your life. By putting a Trust or Will in place, you’re ensuring that you protect yourself and your loved ones, no matter what happens. Below, we’ve outlined a checklist for what documents to include in your estate plan, pertaining to your preventative care. Just this alone will give you peace of mind. This sense of peace and calm is what contributes to your overall sense of wellbeing.
Conversely, let us pretend that you didn’t have an estate plan in place at all. Hypothetically, if you were to unexpectedly discover that you have a debilitating condition, or a terminal disease, much distress will be brought upon you and your loved ones. Adding to that distress, you have no plan in place on how to carry out your medical treatment, who will be able to make important calls should you become incapacitated, and no plan to cover your medical costs. How will you adapt a recovery mindset when you are feeling complete loss of hope and control? Does that sound terrible? We think so too. That’s why putting an estate plan in place is a critical part of your preventative health care plan.
Checklist for Preventative Health Care and Your Estate Plan
Most people assume that estate plans only come into effect when someone passes away. This is not entirely true. Estate plans can provide immense help and relief when someone becomes incapacitated or seriously ill.
To incorporate preventative health care into your estate plan, you’ll want to make sure to include these 4 essential documents:
Feel free to use the above list as your personal checklist, to ensure that you’ve established a comprehensive health plan in your estate.
Health Care Proxy
You can appoint a specific person to make important medical decisions on your behalf, if for some reason you are unable to. Common examples include patients who are in a coma, or become otherwise incapacitated and unable to communicate their wishes. This document is called a health care proxy. A medical practitioner will be the one to make the call that you are no longer able to make or communicate decisions for yourself. Once this happens, then your health care proxy will come into effect.
When you appoint your health care agent, it’s a good idea to sit down with them and talk about various hypothetical but common medical situations. At this time, discuss what your wish would be if something like this were to happen. That way, if something were to ever happen to you, your medical agent would be able to make decisions based on what they think you would have wanted, or make a decision based on what is in your best interest.
HIPAA Authorization (or Medical Privacy Forms)
HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This act was passed in order to protect any individual’s privacy when it comes to health records and history. It’s important that you sign a HIPAA release for your health care agent. This will allow your agent to call insurance companies or doctor’s offices on your behalf, to ask questions or discuss care options as needed.
A living will is a legal document in which you can write down your end-of-life wishes. Some aspects include what should be done with the body, or your wishes for memorial or funeral services. The living will can and should also include your wishes for end-of-life care. Again, under the Health Care Proxy, your health care agent will use your living will as guidance on how to carry out your care based on your wishes, and your best interest.
Medical Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is an estate planning document that addresses your financial affairs. Typically, the agent of your naming will be given access to manage your bank accounts and other assets, such as real estate, as well as sign documents on your behalf. A medical power of attorney may be the same person as your medical agent. They would be able to manage your financial affairs in the case that you become medically incapacitated and unable to do so on your own.
Preventative health care is an important tool for living a long, fulfilling life. Recent studies have drawn a stronger connection between stress management and good health, and having an estate plan in place is a surefire way to give you peace of mind and improve your sense of well-being. If you don’t do it for yourself, do it for your loved ones. If anything were to happen unexpectedly, your loved ones will be thanking you for taking the time and effort to set up a Trust or Will that provides a detailed plan for your health care and end-of-life care needs.