National Healthcare Decisions Day Is Coming – Why Should You Care?

Last week, I posted an article about the second annual Real Time Day, which is tomorrow, April 9, and offers various web-based resources for agencies to learn about the benefits of having real time and download communication capabilities with their insurance markets.  Adding these capabilities will add value to an insurance agency by enabling it to process applications and claims faster and more efficiently. (Click here to read the full article.)  A week from tomorrow, on April 16, will be the sixth annual National Healthcare Decisions Day, which at first blush would not seem to be very relevant to a property and casualty insurance agency or agent.

However, for personal lines agencies and agents, National Healthcare Decisions Day offers a way to provide a value added service to your customers and to show them that your are concerned about more than just selling them an insurance policy.  Its purpose is to raise awareness in the general population of the need to plan in advance for health care decisions that may have to be made in the future.  The coalition of national, state, and community organizations behind this event seeks to ensure that “all adults with decision-making capacity in the United States have the information and opportunity to communicate and document their healthcare decisions.” 

Even after the prolonged agony of the Terri Schiavo case, which demonstrated the need for advance care planning (click here if you need a refresher), fewer than half of adult Americans have executed an advance care planning document in which they express their wishes about the health care treatment they are to receive in the event they are diagnosed with a terminal condition or find themselves in a coma from which there is no reasonable hope of recovery and thereby, become unable to communicate their wishes to their treating physicians.  The website for this event has an extensive list of resources that can be used to educate your customers about this issue and provide them with various types of advance care planning documents, generically referred to as Advance Directives.  As it turns out, the name for this type of document that has been adopted by the Georgia General Assembly is the Georgia Advance Directive for Health Care.  A copy of it and an explanation of its provisions can be found here

If you are looking for a reason to contact your personal lines clients or even your commercial lines clients to remind them of you and the services you can provide, National Healthcare Decisions Day provides a good reason and one that will indicate to your customers that you have their best interests at heart, not just the sale of insurance to them.  Of course, if your agency also sells life and health insurance, this would be a good time to remind its personal and even commercial lines clients of that fact.