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Question: paying for moms medical bills
Old 02-25-2009, 09:59 AM   #1
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Question: paying for moms medical bills

Question: My folks are elderly, 80 years old. My mom had many hospitalizations last year, now is healthy and stable. Medicare didn't cover everything, and left her with various hospital charges of about 15K.

They have the money to pay it, I take care of their finances. One hospital has already sent 4K to collection.

My question is, should I pay off these bills, or should I just say "screw it"

They have no property, no need for credit. At what point do collectors start to sue. I already set up a payment plan with a hospital for 12K, nothing in writing, just verbal, but after 3 payments, they can't even post them right.

I feel like making no more payments and just walking. I have no legal responsibility.

What do you guys think?

jug
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Old 02-25-2009, 10:58 AM   #2
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First, I'm glad your mom is now doing well. Did you receive a Medicare Summary Notice (MSN)? That should tell you how much is your mom is expected to pay out of pocket after Medicare (A and B) and any other medical insurance coverage. If that doesn't show the $15K that the hospital says, then show that to hospital and state you aren't paying anything above the MSN figure.

Personally, I would not believe the hospital bill, I've had to fight them a number of times for my son, who is disable, for overcharging and putting items on the bill that he did not receive.
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Old 02-25-2009, 11:10 AM   #3
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First, I'm glad your mom is now doing well. Did you receive a Medicare Summary Notice (MSN)? That should tell you how much is your mom is expected to pay out of pocket after Medicare (A and B) and any other medical insurance coverage. If that doesn't show the $15K that the hospital says, then show that to hospital and state you aren't paying anything above the MSN figure.

Personally, I would not believe the hospital bill, I've had to fight them a number of times for my son, who is disable, for overcharging and putting items on the bill that he did not receive.
Yeah, I looked at the MSN notice, they jive. It seems she just overwent her days. She had severe psyche problems, very hard to treat and takes up many hospital days. The doctors I don't even pay the co-pays, they are also full of crap too.

They come in, look for a minute, then collect 50 bucks. One doctor billed me for co-pays of 34 straight days of service. I called his office and they told me he cares about his patients and comes to work at hospital each day. Yeah right

My question is basically does anyone think the big bill hospitals would eventually take legal action, if not, then there is no use in even paying these bills.

Anyone with experience in this?

Jug
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Old 02-25-2009, 11:16 AM   #4
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Minor comment. I had experience with this situation with my Mother several years ago but she also had a supplemental policy that covered most things. There were many, many rather small billing that came for months even after she passed. You have to look closely at what was done and when it was done. In my case there were a few billing error which were pretty simple (duplicate billing for and MRI, and ambulance services, etc) but by and far they were accurate and IMO they could not be contested. I could have ignored them but I went ahead and paid every one that was correct, out of my own pocket. The last Column in the MEDICARE Summary with and amount in it is what the patient is expected to pay. Was there a "secondary payer" usually a MEDICARE Supplemental Policy which would possibly pay a part of the amount remaining? You personally have no responsibility for the amounts (unless you signed something accepting some financial responsibility) - barring errors in the charges I think you parents are going to put up with some high power "hounding" - the may want to contact a Governmental "Elder Services" representative for assistance. If they do not want to go through all of this, and there are no contestable errors, and after their best negotiation efforts (maybe with your assistance), they may have to consider paying the bills. The more that go to collection the harder it is going to be to negotiate. Maybe getting a qualified Attorney involved would help but at the amount you mentioned that may not be practicable. Frankly, and I readily admit, it is none of my business, but I do not think the attitude you seem to imply against doctors is going work in a positive manner in this situation.
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Old 02-25-2009, 12:53 PM   #5
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You might check and see if your parents are eligible for Medicaid, which can cover what medicare does not. http://www.kff.org/medicaid/upload/M...y-PDF-2145.pdf
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Old 02-25-2009, 01:19 PM   #6
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They have the money to pay it, I take care of their finances. One hospital has already sent 4K to collection.

My question is, should I pay off these bills, or should I just say "screw it"

jug
When you say, "they have the money to pay it," could you be a little more specific? Do they have barely enough money to pay the bill and doing so would cause them real financial hardship. Or could they pay it easily and you're just interested in saving the $15k for other reasons..... maybe to be part of their estate for you to inherit?

In the former case, I'd follow Martha's advise and see if Medicaid can help or OAG's advise to see if the hospitals would negotiate a lower number based on hardship. In the latter case, I'd pay it. Why have mom and dad living under the watchful eyes of collection agencies, etc., if they can easily afford to pay the bill?
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Old 02-25-2009, 01:28 PM   #7
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[quote=youbet;788334]When you say, "they have the money to pay it," could you be a little more specific? Do they have barely enough money to pay the bill and doing so would cause them real financial hardship. Or could they pay it easily and you're just interested in saving the $15k for other reasons..... maybe to be part of their estate for you to inherit?

quote]

They can pay it, no problem. There is no medigap insurance. My question is simple, how aggressive are the collectors? At what point do they sue? If they win a judgement in court, yes it has to be paid, but how many creditors go to this extreme?
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Old 02-25-2009, 01:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jug View Post

They can pay it, no problem.

My question is simple, how aggressive are the collectors? At what point do they sue?
Maybe these questions would have been more appropriate at the time your Mother was being treated?


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My mom had many hospitalizations last year, now is healthy and stable.
Perhaps the Doctors and staff could have adjusted their level of treatment based on how you felt about only paying them if they sued you.

"Hey Doc, I'm going to try to wiggle out of the bill, but take good care of Mom for me, OK?"

You know what they say about screwing with the wait staff in a restaurant, don't you? If not, don't do it. Trust me.


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Old 02-25-2009, 02:29 PM   #9
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Seems pretty simple to me. If the charges are correct, pay them.
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Old 02-25-2009, 02:32 PM   #10
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Maybe these questions would have been more appropriate at the time your Mother was being treated?




Perhaps the Doctors and staff could have adjusted their level of treatment based on how you felt about only paying them if they sued you.

"Hey Doc, I'm going to try to wiggle out of the bill, but take good care of Mom for me, OK?"

You know what they say about screwing with the wait staff in a restaurant, don't you? If not, don't do it. Trust me.


-ERD50
To be honest, they were a "step and fetchit" team. They only moved their asses when I came to visit. The hospital was basically a place to park her. However, when she refused to take her meds for about a week, they finally told me, so I asked them "what do we do now" instead of "so why are you sitting on your hands"?

As for the staff, they get paid anyhow, some were good, some not, but I had the feeling they weren't really trying so hard, just sort of going through the motions and letting the bill tally up, so yes, perhaps I'm a bit pissed.

jug
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Old 02-25-2009, 02:55 PM   #11
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[quote=jug;788340]
Quote:
Originally Posted by youbet View Post
When you say, "they have the money to pay it," could you be a little more specific? Do they have barely enough money to pay the bill and doing so would cause them real financial hardship. Or could they pay it easily and you're just interested in saving the $15k for other reasons..... maybe to be part of their estate for you to inherit?

quote]

They can pay it, no problem. There is no medigap insurance. My question is simple, how aggressive are the collectors? At what point do they sue? If they win a judgement in court, yes it has to be paid, but how many creditors go to this extreme?
jug
Pay it because it is the right thing to do. Interestingly, a number of medical creditors are quite aggressive in suing and then collecting judgments. Sometimes they sell the unpaid accounts to an outside collector.
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Old 02-25-2009, 03:01 PM   #12
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Pay it because it is the right thing to do.
Thank you.

And why despise the doctor because he or she went to see your mom in the hospital every day she was there. I'd thank him.

There is plenty wrong in health care and in the profession, but...
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Old 02-25-2009, 03:03 PM   #13
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Sometimes they sell the unpaid accounts to an outside collector.
Which could result in another hospital visit!

Watch those knees!

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Old 02-25-2009, 03:04 PM   #14
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First make sure they didn't charge you for care you mom did not receive. Once you are certain the bill is correct, pay what is rightfully due.
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Old 02-25-2009, 03:05 PM   #15
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Son of a friend has started a new job, collecting from estates. He contacts the executors.

I don't know why your mother shouldn't pay the money she owes. We'll all be paying it for her if she doesn't....
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Old 02-25-2009, 03:23 PM   #16
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They have the money to pay it, I take care of their finances. One hospital has already sent 4K to collection.

My question is, should I pay off these bills, or should I just say "screw it"

They have no property, no need for credit. At what point do collectors start to sue. I already set up a payment plan with a hospital for 12K, nothing in writing, just verbal, but after 3 payments, they can't even post them right.

I feel like making no more payments and just walking. I have no legal responsibility.

What do you guys think?

jug
Your Mon has both ethical and legal responsibility to pay. You have both moral obligation and ethical responsibility to do what is in the best interest of your Mom. If a bill has been sent to collections, how do you explain the collection charges that your Mom will now have to pay?

What would you tell the Doctors, especially the one that went 'round 34 times, if you need his services again?

Just out of curiosity, what would you consider a fair outcome to this?

Michael
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Old 02-25-2009, 05:53 PM   #17
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Thank you.

And why despise the doctor because he or she went to see your mom in the hospital every day she was there. I'd thank him.

There is plenty wrong in health care and in the profession, but...
He already got paid by medicare, but I do not believe at all he came all those days in a row. I beleive there is much fraud going on here, with the hospital staff covering for him. In Vegas, if you don't do the right thing by the brass, they can blackball you, and you cannot get a job anywhere in a desert town.

As for the right thing to do, I reward people for good work, but when they sat on their hands when my mom would not take her meds racking up medical bills for her stay, bilking medicare, then my mother, then I do not reward them for doing the wrong thing. They kept her in a holding pattern basicallly. I'm not the type of person to avoid questioning authority, doctors, hosptitals, whoever.

If the medical care is good, then I pay, if not, or if you play games with me, then I play back. There is much crap going on in this field, much fraud. Once you deal with elderly parents, and I have three of them, you have to be tough in order not to get screwed.

So about doing the right thing, I really don't know what the right thing is anymore. We have a doctor here who re-used sryinges and other materials in his endoscopy clinic, so far six people contracted hepatitis.

The nurses who worked with him were afraid to turn him in for this practice, since he was a big shot on the medical board here, and they were afraid if they crossed him they would never work in Vegas.

The other day I went for a colonoscopy, I'm hooked up to tubes, oxygen, all IV's the works, and then a anesthesiologists who looked confused and like he was just thrown out of bed starts questioning me about my insurance, I growled at him and told him we'll work it out when I'm more comfortable. The Gastro was good, the anestesiologist was an a--hole.

So I trust no one. This is basically a system I'm dealing with, so sometimes you have to learn to play along with the game, or the curve balls. So I do not apologize for my behavior.

And there are tons of people on this very board who I bet cleaned out their parents well before they got good and sick and had to go into nursing homes and let medicaid pay the bill. No one is innocent.

so there!

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Old 02-25-2009, 06:11 PM   #18
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And there are tons of people on this very board who I bet cleaned out their parents well before they got good and sick and had to go into nursing homes and let medicaid pay the bill. No one is innocent.

so there!

Great attitude. That'll get you real far. Yep, everybody else is guilty so so it's OK. I can justify anything with that line (but nothing really).

Shouldn't you be in DC getting in line for bailout dollars?

Listen, if you have a problem with the care your Mom got, take it up through the proper channels. Just withholding pay because you suspect you got screwed it not right.

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Old 02-25-2009, 06:37 PM   #19
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You sound so very angry. It's important to advocate for your mother's care, but it might serve both of you better if you can get past your anger. My mother is sinking into dementia and sometimes I find myself feeling anger at her doctor even though he is the most wonderful caring person and an excellent doctor. I think my anger is really my sadness at what is happening to my mother. We are powerless to stop the decline of our parents and it is natural to want to find someone to blame for what is just the cycle of life.
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Old 02-25-2009, 09:18 PM   #20
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They can pay it, no problem. There is no medigap insurance. jug
I recommend you get them to sign up and pay for a medigap insurance plan. This will prevent such large bills in the future.
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