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How to establish an advance directive

No one likes to think about losing the ability to make decisions. But sometimes, the worst does happen. 

If you’re someday unable to make health care decisions for yourself, it’ll be easier on you and your family if you have an advance directive on file to ensure that your wishes are carried out.

You create an advance directive by deciding which medical treatments you’ll allow yourself to receive in the future. You'll also authorize someone to be your patient advocate—an individual you trust who’ll make decisions for you when you can’t. 

What you need to do

  1. Talk with your doctor about the treatment decisions you might need to make in the future.
  2. Fill out the Patient’s Advance Directive form (PDF) in front of a witness. If you need to, you can write additional instructions on a piece of paper and attach it to the form.
  3. Chose your patient advocate, someone you trust to work with your doctors to make decisions about your health care in your place. 
  4. Ask your patient advocate to accept their rights and responsibilities by signing the Acceptance by Patient Advocate form (PDF).
  5. Fill out the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care form (PDF) with your patient advocate and two witnesses. You don’t need a lawyer, but you may want to consult one.
  6. Give a copy of your advance directive to your doctor, your patient advocate, your lawyer and anyone else who might need to know about your health care decisions—for example, a spouse, a nursing home or a hospital. Keep a copy of your advance directive in a safe place where it can be easily found.

For more information about advance directives, talk to your doctor or call Customer Service at the number on the back of your enrollee ID card and we'll help.

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