I hold legal and medical powers of attorney for both our parents. Because they are both living with Alzheimer’s Disease we moved them against their wishes from the home that they had shared for almost sixty years in order to place them in a local memory care facility almost two years ago.
I never regret the time that I spend being responsible for their financial and medical oversight, but as much as possible I do that online so I can take care of matters at any time 24x7 when it is convenient for me outside my working hours as much as possible.
I’m sure that it won’t surprise you to know that my parents had nothing to do with the internet so I was always getting online accounts established for them under my control as soon as I could arrange it. This includes banking, investments, insurance, medications, pension, etc.
For the most part everything with those online accounts has been flowing pretty smoothly now for a few years but getting them established was not always easy. Companies are justifiably very cautious about recognizing and validating a power of attorney because they cannot afford to foolishly recognize a fraudulent power of attorney.
Many firms have their own forms that they state must be signed by the person granting the power of attorney. Imagine how difficult that would be if the person has Alzheimer’s Disease. The reason to have a power of attorney is that you have all this taken care of before it is too late and before the person loses the mental capacity to grant the power of attorney. More than once I had to tell a firm where either or both parents had an account to have their attorney consult IC 30-5-9-9 which states that a power of attorney properly executed in the state of Indiana must be recognized as valid for all matters of the person who executed the POA and failure to do so makes the firm liable for any resulting damages. Once I cite that section of the Indiana Code the firms in question always dropped their demands to have our parents sign their own special form required by their legal department.
The matter at hand involved my online access to Dad’s group medical insurance account. We are extremely fortunate and grateful that he has retiree medical insurance from where he was employed when he retired. You might be shocked at the cost of prescriptions alone for two Alzheimer’s patients. I seldom have to access his medical account online but that need did arise a few weeks ago.
I set up the online access to Dad’s medical account over three years ago and have used it very sparingly, more sparingly than I knew, so when I tried to login I got the message that the account had been disabled due to inactivity. The next business day I called the customer service number, identified my Dad, and identified myself as his son and POA and described the problem. The customer service agent understood my issue but informed me that I could not reactivate online access to the account because they no longer allow online access for power of attorney.
My first thought was that I would have logged in every month just to avoid this problem had I known that. My second thought was to remind him that they have my power of attorney on file and they have recognized it as such. He restated that their legal department has changed their policy so that a person with power of attorney can no longer access the account online.
I replied with my standard comment that I’m sure their legal department knows that they are in violation of
state law. He said that is the policy. I responded with a request that he answer the question that I tried to answer online that got this issue started in the first place. He answered my question and then he said this: “You know I can’t unlock the account for you as the power of attorney but I might be able to help you. I can just delete the online account and then if you have all the information needed to create the account, and I’m sure that you do, then you can just recreate the account. There, it’s gone.” Indiana
I told him thank you very much and I wished him a nice day.