We all hope for the best in life, but there are times when things go wrong. One example of this is when there is a critical illness in the family. Not only does it take a toll on the sick family member, but it can also take a toll on the family finances. Here are 6 tips to financially prepare for a critical illness.
1. Have an Emergency Fund To Cover Unexpected Medical Costs
No one knows when they or a family member will get sick, so it’s important to have an emergency fund to cover unexpected medical costs. Try to save at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses in case you need to take time off work or make any other financial changes.
If you don’t have an emergency fund, start by putting away a small amount each month until you reach your goal. You can also use a high-yield savings account to earn interest on your savings.
If you have high-deductible health insurance, you may want to consider opening a health savings account (HSA). An HSA can help you pay for qualified medical expenses with pretax dollars.
If you’re already facing medical bills, there are a few options to help you pay them off. You can set up a payment plan with your provider, look into hospital financial assistance programs, or see if you qualify for a charity care program.
2. Invest in Critical Illness Insurance
Critical illness insurance is a type of insurance that pays a lump sum benefit if you’re diagnosed with a covered illness. The benefit can be used to help pay for medical expenses, make up for lost income, or cover other financial needs.
If you have health insurance, it likely doesn’t cover everything. Gaps in coverage can leave you with high out-of-pocket costs, which is why critical illness insurance can be a useful addition to your financial safety net.
Before you purchase a policy, make sure to understand the covered illnesses and benefits. Some policies only cover certain conditions, while others have benefit limits. You’ll also want to compare premiums and coverage levels to find the right policy for you.
3. Review Your Health and Life Insurance Policies
If you have health and life insurance, it’s a good idea to review your policies at least once a year. Make sure you understand what’s covered and what isn’t. You may also want to consider increasing your coverage if your needs have changed.
For example, if you have a young family, you may want to add or increase your life insurance coverage. If you have a chronic illness, you may want to make sure your health insurance covers your condition.
It’s also important to keep up with premium payments. If you miss a payment, your policy could lapse, leaving you without coverage when you need it most.
If you’re not sure how much coverage you need, talk to your financial advisor. They can help you assess your needs and find the right policies for you.
When it comes to insurance, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Having the right coverage in place can give you peace of mind and help you financially if something goes wrong.
4. Make a Will and Designate a Power of Attorney
If you don’t have a will, now is the time to make one. A will allows you to designate how your assets will be distributed after your death. Without a will, your state’s laws will determine how your property is divided, which may not be in line with your wishes.
In addition to making a will, you should also designate a power of attorney. A power of attorney allows someone to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf if you’re unable to do so yourself.
Making a will and designating a power of attorney are important steps to take to protect yourself and your family. If something happens to you, they can help ensure that your wishes are carried out.
If you don’t have a will or power of attorney, talk to an attorney about drafting them. They can help you understand the process and make sure everything is in order.
Having a plan in place for what will happen to your assets and your care if you’re unable to make decisions can give you peace of mind.
5. Update Your Beneficiary Information on All Accounts
If you have any accounts with beneficiary designations, make sure the information is up to date. This includes retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and investment accounts.
Your beneficiaries are the people who will receive your assets after your death. If you don’t update your beneficiary information, your assets may not go to the people you want them to.
It’s a good idea to review your beneficiary information at least once a year. If you’ve had any major life changes, such as getting married or having children, you’ll want to update your beneficiaries accordingly.
You can typically update your beneficiary information online or by contacting the financial institution where the account is held. Make sure to follow their instructions to ensure the changes are properly made.
Keeping your beneficiary information up to date is an important part of financial planning. By updating your beneficiaries, you can make sure your assets go to the people you want them to.
6. Talk to Your Family About Your Wishes if You Become Critically Ill
No one likes to think about what would happen if they became critically ill. But it’s important to have a plan in place in case something does happen.
Talk to your family about your wishes for medical treatment and end-of-life care. Make sure they know your preferences and how you want them carried out.
It’s also important to designate someone to make decisions on your behalf if you’re unable to do so yourself. This person is called a healthcare proxy. They will be responsible for making sure your wishes are followed.
Talking to your family about your wishes can be difficult, but it’s an important part of financial planning. By having a plan in place, you can make sure your wishes are carried out if something happens to you.
Making financial preparations for a critical illness can be daunting, but it’s important to do. By taking these steps, you can help protect yourself and your family financially if something goes wrong.
Do you have any other tips that could help others prepare for a critical illness? If so, please share in the comments below.
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Tamila McDonald has worked as a Financial Advisor for the military for past 13 years. She has taught Personal Financial classes on every subject from credit, to life insurance, as well as all other aspects of financial management. Mrs. McDonald is an AFCPE Accredited Financial Counselor and has helped her clients to meet their short-term and long-term financial goals.