Make Sure Your Clients Have Tools to Communicate Their Wishes


Open enrollment is about to arrive and health insurance professionals report this time of year is their busiest. The reward of doing this work well is that clients are happy, and they remain loyal. The financial reward is renewal commissions along with the satisfaction that a job is well done.

Annual open enrollment is also the perfect opportunity to consider offering important education about health-related planning for your clients. As a client advocate, you join an advisor team for your clients and play a key role communicating health insurance topics — from how to use benefits to medical related planning your clients need.

The medical planning notices you can provide to your clients will benefit them through some of the most difficult health challenges they could face. Not everyone has completed forms to communicate how they want their medical care to be managed.

No one likes to think about it, but serious accidents and illnesses happen every day.

Health insurance professionals are in a perfect position to take the lead to educate clients about advanced directives as well as how to handle other critical medical and financial decisions. This process is significant. Planning for the impact of serious illness or accident can be accomplished with a few forms. As a health advocate, opening this conversation with clients helps them plan.

You can encourage your clients to include family and friends to manage critical life planning steps. It is not difficult to provide handouts and a few simple legal forms to clients during open enrollment. Most clients will appreciate the information and recognize your concern for them is genuine. File this effort under doing good works for your clients.

If you decide to hand out this information and explain how these forms can provide their family with directions when needed most, it is your decision. The forms come with directions on how to complete and what to do with them — such as placing them in one’s will and trust documents with other important medical and financial information. Providing this information is one step; I don’t suggest you assist people with completing the forms unless you have a law degree.

These forms will enable your clients to place key decisions in the hands of those they trust the most. Not only are the forms helpful in addressing medical and financial considerations but they remove the burden and uncertainty of how someone wants their life decisions to be handled.

So, the recommendation is to provide access to the following documents only. Share information on how to obtain these official California documents. All the details are outlined on the forms and are self-explanatory. Should you have clients who need assistance, there are resources available including local health care providers.

An Advance Health Care Directive, also called a “living will.” This document lets you state your wishes for health care if you become incapacitated. You name a trusted person who will work with health care providers to be sure you get the kind of care you want.

A Durable Power of Attorney for Finances to appoint the person of your choice to manage your finances for you if you no longer can.

Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) forms, which alert emergency medical personnel not to administer extreme life-saving measures. If you wish to obtain a DNR form, you should contact the CMA publications office directly, at 1(800) 882-1262 or the California Medical Association website:

♦ Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) forms.
Publisher’s Note: None of the information in this article is to be used or construed as legal advice. The information is to be considered as an option to share with clients. If you would like to learn more or access these documents, do your own online search, contact your local law office, or use the links listed above.


PHIL CALHOUN consults with health insurance professionals on commission protection and exit planning. He is the co-owner of Integrity Advisors and publisher of Cal Broker Magazine. Calhoun is driven to help active health insurance professionals access the resources needed to be an advocate for their clients. To learn more, go to or call 714-664-0311