It’s been a very bad week, which has been made much more difficult simply because of a lack of forethought that would have taken no more than 15 minutes to accomplish.

A good friend and close business associate was seriously injured in an automobile accident the other day. He’s currently under a chemically induced coma, while the doctors try to figure out how to clear out a blood clot in his lung which prevents him from breathing on his own.

Unfortunately, no one knows anything about his insurance coverage. There were no insurance cards in his wallet, and his family has absolutely know idea where any paperwork about it is. Right now his wife is digging through all his files, in tears, while worrying like crazy about his condition. Others are trying to do some CSI work by tracing all kinds of leads to where that information may be found.

He used to backup his personal files on our old company FTP, but the last stuff is from 2005, and is password protected. He pays all his bills electronically, from his laptop. Unfortunately, his laptop was in the car, and is currently locked up at the hospital until tomorrow. I have no idea if it still works, much less if we can even get into his files if we could power it up. The only hints we have right now is that he may only have catastrophic insurance (which is what he needs right now) , and it may be with a private insurance company in a specific state, which he recently signed up with. That’s it.

The hospital has been bugging his family for this info, and nobody knows how it find it yet. Due to HIPAA rules, we can’t ask the insurance companies in that state for his coverage info. It’s extremely frustrating, on top of the horrible situation of his condition.

Everyone, please take this experience as a lesson. Write a simple one page document listing all numbers of all important policies, contacts, etc., and leave a copy with everyone important to you. Also, specify where to find the full documents, and how to gain access. Email an encrypted copy to them, so they also have an electronic copy.

You may think you have everything under control yourself, but YOU DON’T. You never know when you may be incapacitated, and are dependent upon others to help you. Neglecting this will just make things so much more painful for the people you care most about.