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Old 02-01-2010, 01:16 PM
 
Location: Planet Eaarth
8,955 posts, read 18,784,145 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ouijeewoman View Post
I'm her only child, so there is no one who has MPA. She also has no estate.

Please!!!!!!!!!!! GET A LAWYER TO HELP YOU HANDLE THIS!!!! PLEASE!!!!!


P.S. been there done that so I know you will need a lawyer! Like it or not you now have no other choice.
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Old 02-01-2010, 05:40 PM
 
Location: WA
5,538 posts, read 22,648,967 times
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After my dad died I got the same kind of calls and I told them to leave me alone, I was not responsible, and I would bring charges of harassment if they kept calling. They went away after three or four months.
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Old 02-01-2010, 05:57 PM
 
23,082 posts, read 42,223,971 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ouijeewoman View Post
I need some advice. I've done a little research and found out I'm not responsible for my mom's medical bills. She has no estate. Here is my problem: She was in a nursing home for physical therapy only, not a permanent stay. The nursing home keeps harassing me for payment. Today they called and want me to apply for medicaid for her stay there! Do I really need to do this? Every time they call, it just brings all the grief right back to the surface. I need to move on. Is there any thing I can do or say to get them off my back? Is it really necessary to apply for medicaid after her death?

I would greatly appreciate any advice and thank you in advance.
This forum is not a viable substitute for good legal advice. What I generally understand is that the facility cannot hold you liable for her costs unless you signed something saying you'd be responsible, i.e., co-signing. If you did not co-sign for her, it seems you are not liable. But that's just my own seat of the pants awareness.

My mom owned her own home, and we had to sell it to get her into a nursing home for long term care (LTC). Once the money from the sale of the house was gone, MedicAID kicked in after I did the process of documenting her case. What follows below is my standard post on such topics:


Long Term Care Insurance (LTCI) can be purchased from any number of companies. It's important for most of the middle class to have LTCI as they are not wealthy enough to pay $6000 per month for months or years on end. We've a policy that covers us for a total time of 8 years, indexed for inflation, in a quality facility. The policy runs $2700 per year. LTCI is critical to protect the equity in a home and have something leftover for the spouse or children in the way of an estate.

The truly wealthy don't need it, they can take their chances and pay out of pocket. The working poor often cannot afford LTCI or pay out of pocket for long term skilled nursing care, which is where Medicaid comes in handy (NOT medicare). Medicaid is for those unable to pay. If a working class person needs long term skilled nursing care, most states will cover it under Medicaid but they will put a lien on any home the person may own. A spouse may stay in that home, but the state will get the proceeds from the sale of that home, some day.

Before Medicaid kicks in, a person/couple must spend everything they have, down to $2500 and then, as you near bankruptcy, Medicaid will finally kick in. This awful situation is called "spending down to Medicaid" or "Medicaid Impoverishment" and it's no joke. You even have to cash in life insurance if it has cash surrender value. You may prepay your funeral expenses but that's about all. We had to do this for my Mother, but her home was only worth $58k anyway and the state of MD eventually picked up that much more before the end came.

There are other ways to get around "spending down," such as putting assets in a certain type of trust, or gifting your assets to your kids (hah!), BUT these must be done YEARS in advance of asking for Medicaid, else there is a time lapse for Medicaid to kick in. OBVIOUSLY, good legal advice from a lawyer who specializes in "Elder Law" is essential.

Middle class folks with a nice home or other assets at risk need to have LTCI to avoid the Medicaid trap.

MediCARE will ONLY cover nursing home care if it is immediately AFTER a hospitalization, is related to that hospitalization and IIRC, for ONLY about 60-90 days max; after that you're on your own.

Rules vary slightly from state to state. I put together a 3-ring binder of data for the state of MD, and we got Mom covered by MedicAID for her LTC costs.

Which gets me to one more soap box. Everyone who is married and/or is a parent and/or has any assets should by all means have the entire package of advance directives completed. Things such as powers of attorney for medical decisions, do not resuscitate orders, instructions for the disposition of assets and collections, who you want to raise your kids if you're not there to do it, etc. All of these need to be done. If you end up in a coma and on life support, you may stay there for a long time before a court order can be issued to pull the plug, but if you have that all spelled out in advance directives, you can pull the plug on yourself and save the horrific expense of life support for months on end, which could save your family from bankruptcy, and one of the leading causes of bankruptcy these days is huge medical bills.
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Old 02-01-2010, 05:59 PM
 
1,067 posts, read 1,851,298 times
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A medical power of attorney, or any other power of attorney, terminates upon the death of the grantor. Such a document is irrelevant to this matter.

I suggest that you open a zero dollar estate. I assume there is not a Last Will and Testament, thus this would be an intestate estate. Any creditor can then post a claim against the estate, which will go unpaid given your scenerio. Now I assume you did not sign as a guarantor, surety, co-signer or in any other capacity for your mother. Should this assumption be incorrect they another course of action applies.

This is the prudent course of action, which will take a small amount of money and limited time. Any creditors that show up later will be forced to be GONE through your actions in this accord. But this may or may not be applicable as I am not sure about the laws of your state.

This in no way constitutes legal advice. Speak with an attorney.
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Old 02-01-2010, 06:46 PM
 
1,981 posts, read 3,543,133 times
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Mike from back East...Thank you for the detailed information. I will be looking for a lawyer to handle this.

Her stay in the nursing home was after a hospitalization. The nursing home told me that medicare would only take care of the first 21 days. I can see that this is too much for me to handle on my own. I was surprised that her creditors haven't hassled me like the nursing home has!

Tightwad...thank you again for pointing me in the right direction.
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Old 02-01-2010, 07:23 PM
 
23,082 posts, read 42,223,971 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ouijeewoman View Post
Mike from back East...Thank you for the detailed information. I will be looking for a lawyer to handle this.

Her stay in the nursing home was after a hospitalization. The nursing home told me that medicare would only take care of the first 21 days. I can see that this is too much for me to handle on my own. I was surprised that her creditors haven't hassled me like the nursing home has!

Tightwad...thank you again for pointing me in the right direction.
If your Mom was on Medicare, it should have covered both her hospital stay and the subsequent nursing home care since if it was immediately after the hospital stay and was for the same illness/injury. If not, Medicaid could pick up the cost for someone who is indigent. The 21 day limit you mention may or may not be true, I thought it was 60 days, but not sure anymore. Getting a lawyer is the correct move and shouldn't cost all that much for a consult.

By way of getting everyone here on the same sheet of music, here is my basic understanding of MediCARE and MediCAID. These are my general understandings, and the details and procedures can vary from state to state.

- MediCARE is health insurance for people aged 65 and over. Covers doctors and hospitals, but not long term nursing home care. You do not need to be indigent to be on MediCARE. Usually it does not cover the full amount that a doc or hospital will bill a patient, thus many patients get a bill for whatever amount that Medicare doesn't cover; so many patients often have "medi-gap" private insurance to cover the amounts that Medicare leaves unpaid.

- MediCAID is many things, but is primarily for people of most any age who are indigent, i.e., have no money or assets. People have to apply for it. If the person has no insurance and no money but owns a home, they and their spouse can can stay in the home but the state puts a lien on the home for whatever amount they spend on the person. MediCAID will pay for such things as long term nursing home care, docs and hospital costs for those who are indigent.
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Old 02-01-2010, 07:57 PM
 
4,271 posts, read 14,398,607 times
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How can someone who is deceased apply for medicaid or someone apply on her behalf? I am very sorry for your loss. When my dad died five years ago, he had a few unpaid medical bills. From my research online, I found that if a collection agency is trying to get the money from you, you are entitled to know every line item that is being charged. If they cannot provide that for you, then technically they can't say that money is owed to them. Me being responsible for paying his bill is a whole other issue. I basically asked for the line item and they said "We'll get back to you" and was never bothered by them again. This was in Texas. Every state has different laws so definitely consult a lawyer about this. You may even be able to ask lawyers online. Google your question and maybe you can find information to at least get you started. We did end up talking to a lawer to straighten things out so if I were you, I would eventually do the same. Good luck.
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Old 02-01-2010, 08:22 PM
 
267 posts, read 1,293,004 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DowntownVentura View Post
I would consult an estate lawyer or maybe one here will pop up but I will share my similar experience when my MIL passed some 10 years ago. I was getting her credit card bills with a lot of threatening letters saying I was somehow responsible. I consulted a lawyer and he said that the credit card company could go after the estate (there was none in my case) but they cannot go after a 3rd party. He advised me to send them a copy of the death certificate with a note saying that the party on the credit card was deceased and there was no estate. I did. More letters came but I just ignored them. Eventually they stopped.

I am not a lawyer and my situation is completely different than yours. I shared the story only to show that companies will go after you whether they legitimately can or not.
Sounds a LOT like what happened after my mother's death in 1997. She left no estate but it still didn't stop the credit card companies and the doctors from trying to collect, some were quite nasty like Montgomery Ward who told me on the phone to "...just pay the god-damn f*cking bill !!" ..and people wanted to know why I was so glad when Wards closed their stores. Anyway after doing some research and making a few calls including our then local TV comsumer reporter their message was clear....in the event there is no estate..children are NOT responsible for the debts the parent/parents had left behind.

Eventually the letters and calls stopped.
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Old 02-02-2010, 12:21 PM
 
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
13,145 posts, read 20,443,800 times
Reputation: 14042
Quote:
Originally Posted by ouijeewoman View Post
I need some advice. I've done a little research and found out I'm not responsible for my mom's medical bills. She has no estate. Here is my problem: She was in a nursing home for physical therapy only, not a permanent stay. The nursing home keeps harassing me for payment. Today they called and want me to apply for medicaid for her stay there! Do I really need to do this? Every time they call, it just brings all the grief right back to the surface. I need to move on. Is there any thing I can do or say to get them off my back? Is it really necessary to apply for medicaid after her death?

I would greatly appreciate any advice and thank you in advance.
I would give them your mother's current address and tell them to go collect from her.

Sorry for your loss... it's too bad we live in crooked world like this. Of course, if you signed anything for them they may be able to hold you liable for the bill too. Getting a lawyer is sound advice.
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Old 02-04-2010, 05:00 PM
 
48,508 posts, read 88,732,737 times
Reputation: 18188
Quote:
Originally Posted by ouijeewoman View Post
I need some advice. I've done a little research and found out I'm not responsible for my mom's medical bills. She has no estate. Here is my problem: She was in a nursing home for physical therapy only, not a permanent stay. The nursing home keeps harassing me for payment. Today they called and want me to apply for medicaid for her stay there! Do I really need to do this? Every time they call, it just brings all the grief right back to the surface. I need to move on. Is there any thing I can do or say to get them off my back? Is it really necessary to apply for medicaid after her death?

I would greatly appreciate any advice and thank you in advance.
I would apply for the medicad funding as its only right that they get paid. Otherwsie someone else like your mother will pay or they will evetually stop taking such patients.If she had other means you would be doing thasi anyways just like those that have a estate and are the executor must when thier is one. We are now paying the bills and medcail cost for my wifes mother who dies in December because its our responsiblity.
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