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Advance directives

What is an advance directive?

What is an advance directive?

An advance directive is a legal document that tells your doctors what types of care you do and don’t want for yourself. This way, if you can’t speak for yourself due to an accident or illness, you’ll still get the medical attention and care you need and want. Advance directives can often include information about whether you want to be kept alive on machines or donate your organs after you pass away. Because these instructions are made before the medical treatment is needed, they are often referred to as “advance directives.”

If you already have an advance directive:


  • Keep a copy for yourself

  • Give a copy to the person you’ve granted medical power of attorney to

  • Give a copy to all your providers

  • Take a copy with you if you have to go to the hospital or the emergency department

  • Keep a copy in your car if you have one 

The sections below give more information about advance directives and living wills.

What is a living will?

A living will is part of your advance directive. It’s a legal document that lists your wishes for medical treatment if you are terminally ill or can’t speak for yourself. It tells your family and doctors what medical treatment you do and don't want to have to keep you alive, if there’s no chance of your recovery. Living wills speak for you at the end of life or if you can no longer make decisions for yourself. 

Planning your living will

We think you are the most important person who will ever be involved in your care. You have the right to make decisions about your care. We want you to be active in all your health care choices.


It is an unpleasant thought, but what if you become too sick to tell the doctor what you want your care to be? A living will is a way to make sure that your doctors and family know your wishes. 


You can make decisions now or name someone, known as a medical power of attorney, to make those choices if you cannot.

Creating your living will

Creating your living will

We recommend all our plan members take the time to create a living will, name a power of attorney and provide their advance directive to their primary care physician (PCP).


You can complete the Illinois Power of Attorney for Health Care form (PDF) found on the Illinois Department on Aging website. 


You can talk to your PCP about creating your living will or advance directive. Together, you can make decisions that will set your mind at ease. Once you complete your advance directive, ask your PCP to put the form in your file.


If you ever need or want to, you can change your advance directive at any time. You should make sure others know you have an advance directive. You may also choose to name a medical power of attorney. Make sure the person you choose knows you have an advance directive or living will.


With an advance directive, you can be sure that you are cared for as you wish, at a time when you cannot give information. Your advance directive can also give your loved ones peace of mind because they’ll know they’re following your wishes.


Have questions?

Advance directives and living wills can be confusing. We’re here to help. Just call us at 1-866-329-4701 (TTY: 711).


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