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What Is a Patient Advocate and How Do They Help Seniors

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Helping senior loved ones out with their healthcare often includes assisting them with understanding medical costs, billing, and similar information or finding the right type of healthcare provider. Handling these healthcare tasks can be challenging, especially given the complexities of the healthcare industry. Hiring a patient advocate for seniors can provide you and your elderly loved ones with much-needed help.

What Does a Patient Advocate for Seniors Do?

Patient advocates for seniors are people who specialize in helping elderly individuals with healthcare-related tasks, such as ensuring that they receive affordable treatment or finding a specific type of provider for proper care. Different types of patient advocates are available to assist seniors, such as:

  • General patient advocates
  • Medical billing patient advocates

General patient advocates provide help in a wide range of areas, which might include assisting patients with deciding on the most suitable treatment or making sure they find a specialist for a particular medical condition.

Medical billing patient advocates specialize in helping seniors with medical billing tasks, which typically includes understanding their healthcare costs and taking steps to correct billing errors. Medical billing patient advocates might also handle negotiating healthcare costs in order to provide seniors with more affordable options. 

Why Consider Hiring a Patient Advocate?

Lower Costs

Hiring a patient advocate provides some important benefits for senior loved ones. These advocates can help elderly individuals save a significant amount of money on the cost of medical care. Their knowledge of how the healthcare industry works, including medical costs and billing, can help your senior loved ones avoid paying more than they should for treatment and other kinds of healthcare, such as screenings or diagnostic tests. Keep in mind that seniors have a higher risk of developing severe or chronic medical conditions that might normally come with expensive medical costs. Having a patient advocate can help keep these costs down while still ensuring that your loved ones get the care they need. 

Access to the Right Care

When you have a senior loved one with a medical condition that is rare or hard to treat, finding the right kind of care can be difficult. Making decisions about their course of treatment can also be challenging in these situations. Patient advocates can help your senior loved one find the right type of healthcare provider, such as a specialist, and make informed decisions about treating or managing their condition. This includes navigating the health insurance industry as needed in order to ensure that your elderly family member is able to receive the right kind of care based on their coverage. 

Peace of Mind

Having a patient advocate at your side can provide you with peace of mind when it comes to caring for your senior loved ones. Patient advocates can spend time dealing with medical billing errors, trying to get lower healthcare costs, making sure your loved ones get proper care, and more, so that you can focus on other caregiving tasks. This kind of help can reduce the amount of stress you’re feeling, especially if you have senior loved ones who have serious medical conditions.

How to Find a Patient Advocate for Seniors

There aren’t any specific requirements or credentials needed in order to be a patient advocate for seniors. This is important to keep in mind when you’re searching for a patient advocate, so that you’re able to find a competent and experienced one. Where should you begin your search for a patient advocate? Getting in touch with your senior loved one’s health insurance company can be a good place to start. Health insurance companies sometimes provide these advocates if their policies include this type of service. 

If your elderly family member doesn’t have health insurance or if patient advocate services aren’t included, you can check with local hospitals. Some hospitals have these advocates available, such as nurses who provide these services. Senior living facilities sometimes have patient advocates available as well. You can also get help finding independent ones in your area with help from organizations that specialize in patient advocacy.

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