- If working, ensure medical coverage. Pursue group benefits, especially medical and long-term disability insurance. It is no accident that three out of these ten recommendations deal with medical insurance.
- If considering moving out of state be sure to find out how qualifications and conditions apply to medical coverage (including ADAP programs) compare between the state you are in and the one you may move to.
- If on Medicaid or have unsatisfactory medical coverage, explore Veterans' medical insurance eligibility, paying for Medicaid, or getting a job to get the medical coverage.
- If on long-term disability (LTD) be sure that your disabilities are as fully and carefully documented as possible, with evidence of the disabling effects of your HIV status.
- If disabled as soon as possible re-train for a new avocation or vocation you can pursue if you lose your claim benefits or when you reach age 65. It will also give life a purpose and possibly put money in your pocket as long as it cannot be seen as work performed for income.
- If on long-term disability (LTD) and within 10-15 years of age 65, develop a radical savings plan that includes harsh cuts in expenses, a supplemental vocation to soften the likely loss of LTD income, and identifies the additional expenses that retirement brings. Diversify your streams of income and make sensible investment such as real estate and rental property.
- If in an unmarried long-term relationship, arrange through an attorney to have separate estate plans, powers of attorney, wills, and possibly a trust. Rely on guides from Nolo Press (NOLO.com) to prepare yourselves. Find an attorney to help you with these things; some will help people with HIV for free or at low-cost.
- Consider entrepreneurship, which may be a great way to spend your time and earn income in your later years. Develop entrepreneurship skills and a plan well before having to use it. Build on existing experience or gather years of experience on the job before venturing forth. Ensure you can get the insurance you need from day one. As with any investment, only put money into a venture that you can truly afford to lose.
- Seek new accelerated benefits provisions on life insurance coverage. This coverage clause can provide you with tax-free emergency cash in a medical crisis.
- Thrive financially to survive medically. Devote the time needed to really understand all aspects of your financial health. You may not be able to do much to change your medical situation, but your financial health can be in your own hands.
Per Larson is the author of the book Gay Money and over 125 articles, and has advised people over the last ten years on the financial implications of serious illness.