Having my first ever surgery and I have two questions.
December 8, 2008 2:45 PM   Subscribe

I'm going in for my first surgery ever in a week or two and have two different questions... 1) can a person get "life insurance" that covers surgery? Short term, specific type. 2) is there a way to write out notes to folks (emails, things to be printed) and have an automatic delivery system if for any reason I don't stop the delivery?

I have a good sized tumor in my upper neck/base of skull region that needs to be worked on and as it is my first time going in for anything like this (in 43 years) it makes a guy think.

#1) I do have some insurance through work (50k I think), but I was thinking more along the lines of an extra 100-200k to spread out among family in the case, well, whatever might happen. Just trying to think of my kids, their school needs, my girlfriend and her kids and a new on the way grandson.
Are there places to get short term specific policies, and are they worth the effort?
Will they even cover something like this when a specific problem is involved?

#2) I guess I am thinking of a "Doomsday" type device. I set it in motion with some type of date to "go off" and send out a email that leads to the rest or sends them out all at once. That way I could write up some stuff and if it wasn't needed than I don't have to drag everyone down thinking about it and just turn off the mailing before the date hits.

I'm really not hyper worried about the whole thing, but these two thoughts just keep popping back up in my head.
posted by Blackie to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
As for #2, you could include letters or whatever that you wanted sent in a sealed envelope and give to whomever has your power of attorney, with the instructions that it be opened only the event of your death. The instructions could include sending emails to a list of certain people, passowrds for deleting accounts, etc.

Best wishes for your surgery.
posted by modernnomad at 2:53 PM on December 8, 2008

I agree with the suggestion above--or you could have already composed emails saved in a "draft" folder of your email program and give one person instructions to send them in the event of your death. The last part regarding passwords is really important--a friend's father passed away and the family had a horrible time because he didn't leave a list of passwords for online bank accounts, the Quicken files, his computer, etc.

Good luck with your surgery.
posted by agatha_magatha at 3:10 PM on December 8, 2008

IANALIATG (I am not a life insurance agent, thank god) but if the tumor is not at present known to be cancerous now is the time to get your insurance. My understanding is that once you are diagnosed with cancer obtaining a new policy becomes if not impossible then very much harder.

You could sign up for a policy now, then if all goes well, cancel it in a month.
posted by trinity8-director at 3:29 PM on December 8, 2008

The term is 'Dead Man's Switch'. I apologize, it's morbid. There are some sites out there that do this with email -- this one, for example will send you notifications, and if you don't respond for a total of 60 days, it sends the emails out.
posted by suedehead at 4:21 PM on December 8, 2008

Best answer: FutureMe lets you send emails on a date you specify.
posted by desjardins at 4:28 PM on December 8, 2008

there is a very simple way to handle the matter of the letters: write a will. there are basic will kits that are not expensive. check your state's laws--it may be as simple as getting a handwritten document notarized. the executor of the will can distribute the letters. be sure, in your will, to include all passwords and logins to email/social networking sites you may have so your family can shut them down and/or access your address books in an emergency. if you have a mistress or illegitimate children your spouse doesn't know about, choose an executor who can keep his/her cool. if your life is mostly in order, your spouse or a sibling are fine.

you should also have a living will in place (in case you end up in that nightmare between life and death) and designate someone you trust as your power of attorney and medical proxy, who can take charge in case, say, there are complications and you are out of commission while further decisions need to be made. this is absolutely essential. you can choose the same person as the executor of your will. this person should be informed about your wishes about taking heroic measures to preserve life, whether you wish to remain on life support if brain death occurs, whether you wish to have or decline nutrition in case you are in a vegetative state but not brain dead, and whether you want an autopsy or to donate your organs if you do die.

good luck. it's good that you are thinking about these things now--so many people don't, and it can be a real burden on survivors. i hope you sail through and have a complete recovery.
posted by thinkingwoman at 6:59 PM on December 8, 2008

I recently spoke to a lawyer about the same sort of thing. She said to not put the details about passwords and such in the will. The will describes the division of property, not the frequently-changing details about that property. She suggested I put together a separate sheet of instructions that included account numbers, passwords, etc. that the executor would need. It will be a lot easier to update if it's separate. I think this is something we all should have and keep updated.

I have will software that I think I got through Nolo Press. It was easy to use and included the correct living will for my state.

Best of luck with your surgery. It will be a lot easier to go in knowing that you've tied up loose ends.
posted by PatoPata at 9:06 PM on December 8, 2008

Why do you need a short term life insurance policy? You need a regular life insurance policy. A major family breadwinner with kids should carry at least 5x salary until the kids are grown (longer if you are supporting a spouse). Don't cheap out on this, you never know when you could get hit by a bus.
posted by crazycanuck at 9:20 PM on December 8, 2008

As a former insurance agent, I can say this: you're going to have to give your entire medical history when applying for non-group life insurance. At your age, if you're getting $100k or more, you're also going to need to go through underwriting that will almost definitely require blood tests and urine tests. So, you will have to disclose your current situation, which will almost undoubtedly disqualify you.

Life insurance is not a "whoops -- now I need it, now I want it!" type of situation. It's a "Gee, I hope never need it!" type of situation. Life insurance companies are not going to issue a policy where the owner has a good chance of dying without them recouping a lot of the premiums involved. Keep in mind, if you lie about your current situation (i.e.- you don't disclose that you're about to have surgery), and you do happen to pass on during or directly after the surgery, the insurance company will receive this information with your death certificate. At that point, the claim will be denied, and they will simply refund to your estate all the premiums you paid up to that point.

Now, you may be able to increase your group life insurance from work, but I'm assuming your company probably only allows that during the re-enrollment period, at which point underwriting will probably also be required.

So, chances are, you're SOL. Still, no harm in talking to an insurance agent just to see what they say. You can look up life insurance companies online, or head to your current insurance broker. Most companies like State Farm, Farmers, Allstate, (etc.) will give you a "multi-line" discount if you get a second policy with them after your car or house insurance.
posted by PandemicSoul at 8:28 AM on December 9, 2008

Agreed with crazycanuck. My advisor told me my husband and I should each be carrying half a million minimum of life insurance. We have one child and are nowhere near wealthy.
posted by Herkimer at 9:18 AM on December 9, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks all excellent suggestions.

The "dead man's switch" was the kind of thing I was thinking in my head. The FurtureMe site was one that I had heard abotut and almost exactly what I was thinking for letting someone know about online accounts, passwords and folks online that I would want to be notified.

I was already thinking along the lines of a will of some kind and I had forgotten the Living Will. Thanks for the reminder.

You are also right about the life insurance and it has been on my list of things to do many time, just never pulled it off.
posted by Blackie at 1:54 PM on December 9, 2008

If you can't get life insurance because you have a pre-existing medical condition/they won't insure you/the premiums would be outrageous etc, take a look at Funeral or Death insurance, given this is a 'just in case' scenario.

A bunch of places have it - small amounts, but often no health questions, and premiums almost entirely based off your current age. Many of them even cover you for suicide. o_O There's often a 6 month standdown period though.
So, if I was worried about having something pretty terminal - that's what I would go get. Probably through a bunch of companies.

Disclaimer: I know this because I briefly worked on a callcenter doing Funeral Insurance. Surprisingly unpopular. ;P
I don't recommend it if you're old or healthy. But terminal conditions? Check it out, and make as much of it as you can, eh?
posted by Elysum at 3:57 AM on December 10, 2008

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