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Old 06-18-2012, 04:29 PM   #41
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Not all cancers are linked to smoking. My mother had ovarian cancer - we were all surprised to learn there was no statistical correlation between smoking and that form of cancer. My mother smoked. We couldn't get all moralistic about how her bad habit caused the cancer.
I acutally meant to say, on one hand one should not be penalized for the past health (or lack of health) habits...

Cancer is still a horrible disease. I lost both my dad and oldest brother to cancer. In my dad's situation, he was a 2-3 pack a day smoker and didn't take care of his health in other ways. In my brother's case, he had liver cancer which was unexpected and only detected during a routine physical. My dad having cancer wasn't that much of a shock, given his health habits. Yet, it was just as difficult losing each of them to cancer.
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Old 06-18-2012, 04:46 PM   #42
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...On top of it sh has never carried medicare gap insurance. 4-5 thousand now means could mean delaying retirement given that I am still 10 years away from that ER date.

I feel I go without thhings like cable tv, eating out, driving cars forever until the wheels drop off, meanwhile the mother in law has cable, eats out and drives relatively new cars. She had to stop work and is now 100% on SS for living expenses and has moved in with her sister due to being evicted for not paying rent due to having to stop work now. ....
So in six months she can start getting the Medicare gap insurance? And since she is living with her sister I assume her cable bills have stopped? Since it seems to bother you to help her financially, perhaps you can make taking care of these two things (getting the gap insurance, cutting out cable until then) be a good-faith effort on her part and help her take care of them.

I'm curious about how old your MIL is and why she did not get the gap insurance--did she just figure Medicare would pay for everything?

I agree with the above posters who suggested talking with a hospital or social services social worker about how to handle this. It's also possible the doctors might take half the copay if you offer to pay in cash.

I would hope though that paying $4K to $5K now to help her out wouldn't really delay your ER too long--that doesn't seem too material an amount to affect it (and if she gets the gap insurance, that will take care of future copays, right? so it's only the current copays you're concerned about?).
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Old 06-18-2012, 09:08 PM   #43
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I'm curious about how old your MIL is and why she did not get the gap insurance--did she just figure Medicare would pay for everything?
Looking over my Dad's Medicare bills, I can see why people would skip the Medigap insurance-- that stuff's expensive. From Dad's health records it must've seemed like he was shoveling good money down a rathole for no return for over a decade. He was paying annual premiums of $2500-$3500 and hardly ever using a doctor for much of that time.

That is, until you have to pay for 20% of something really really expensive like emergency surgery or chemotherapy...
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Old 06-19-2012, 04:47 AM   #44
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This is a really sensitive situation, family makes it very close & personal.

I would cover the initial treatment, with a plan to pay for the gap insurance. It appears the MIL has not lived her life in a manner which she forecasted a rainy day. She needs help in doing so.
Plan & Pa for the premiums of $2500 -$3000 like Nord said, that is better than the unknown sudden treatment costs.
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Old 06-19-2012, 06:18 AM   #45
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Helping someone in need without judging is an act of great kindness and compassion and often goes unrewarded. Cancer is a terrible disease, your MIL must be frightened and your DW upset. Whether or not you choose to contribute financially, you can also help by being there and providing emotional support.
I agree with this statement.
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Old 06-19-2012, 08:09 AM   #46
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OP, what is your wife willing to do herself to help this situation? It is easy to say what other people should do with their time and money. Is she willing to work herself to fund her mother?
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Old 06-19-2012, 08:14 AM   #47
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I feel I go without things like cable tv, eating out, driving cars forever until the wheels drop off, meanwhile the mother in law has cable, eats out and drives relatively new cars. She had to stop work and is now 100% on SS for living expenses and has moved in with her sister due to being evicted for not paying rent due to having to stop work now.

M.
Good topic that affects a large number of persons with parents who made different "choices" in life, to include reckless financial behavior and destructive habits to health. In the end this is about you and your wife and the relationship you will have when the MIL passes AND the impact on your finances this will have. A very personal decision for you and your wife. I need to add that IMHO, some of the posts chastising someone for not immediately giving any/all monies needed for treatment are so off base it's not even funny (you are not Joe Stalin b/c you refuse to give money to help others in your family, specifically in this set of parameters). I personally would pay some of the fees, not all. I also hate to be the reality checker here, but the 5 year survival for lung cancer is very dismal. She will not beat this, no matter what rosy picture the oncologists gives. Even if this is early stage lung carcinoma, her lungs are a petri dish for forming additional cancer secondary to the years of smoking. Time to spend quality time with her, give her lots of emotional support and make sure all her affairs are in order.
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Old 06-19-2012, 08:23 AM   #48
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BigE brings up something I was hesitant to bring up. The whole thread seems to be about the cost. I'm wondering about the benefit? After my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer, had 1/3 of lung removed (very invasive) she still ended up with metastasis being diagnosed 2 weeks later. Passed ~5 months later. Saw same thing with FIL; multiple myeloma and tens or hundreds of thousands spent last month or two. I know there are no guarantees in treatments, but before I'd commit a substantial portion of family assets to it I'd want to know likely benefit. I suppose many will ask "how can you put a price on treating a loved one?" But not doing so is why health care is so beyond control now in my opinion. If healthcare is ever to be controlled it will have to rationed to some degree.
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Old 06-19-2012, 09:02 AM   #49
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In a perfect world, we should all help the needy without judgement or rewards. But in reality, there is limited resources. So what do we do? Say yes to everything at all costs? Or what?
It is a tough choice to make. Many on this board have been in the position of being asked to help out those who are not quite as forward thinking as we would like, myself included.

Yes there are limited resources but you have to live with the results of the decision.

Think about how your choice will affect the rest of your life, and your relationship with your wife. It has to be a choice you both can live with.
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Old 06-19-2012, 09:04 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by MichaelB
Helping someone in need without judging is an act of great kindness and compassion and often goes unrewarded. Cancer is a terrible disease, your MIL must be frightened and your DW upset. Whether or not you choose to contribute financially, you can also help by being there and providing emotional support.
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I agree with this statement.
I agree with this statement too. Am actually surprised at the judgement regarding MIL's lifestyle as the determining factor for whether to help or not. I respect the fact that you have feelings about it.

However, ask yourself if you would you feel any differently had her lifestyle been different. I venture to guess the answer is no. That makes it about money not her lifestyle choice.

Bottom line: Everyone dies of something. If it wasn't cancer it might be something else. There is a huge possibility that you would be facing this same situation regardless of her lifestyle choice.

As I see it (without more information), it is quite possibly an "end of life" issue and how "the family" is going to handle the co pays...regardless of the reasons.

Where is the compassion for what your MIL is going thru?

If you can not afford it, then it seems to me "the family members" need to have a plan and come to a consensus on how to handle things. A family meeting is a good way to at least get the conversation going.

It also says "I am not taking 100% responsibility for this so what do "we" do. When others say "they can not help" ( and it is their mother)....well...perhaps...there can be an agreement that "all" go on a personal loan at the bank with shared responsibility to pay it off (if banks would allow) or some other such "shared" mechanism. Of course only if all other mechanisms of financial assistance have been exhausted.

i.e. There will be "end of life" costs regardless so may as well address it now.
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Old 06-19-2012, 09:08 AM   #51
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I would pay it
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Old 06-19-2012, 09:15 AM   #52
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My brother's ex's mother passed away from cancer of the esophagus several years ago. At that time, her and her husband had a good amount of savings built up with their lifetime of hard work. The insurance didn't cover all her expenses, so he had to dip into their savings to pay the rest. Then about a year later, he died of lung cancer. Once again, not all was covered so he had to drain a good portion out of his own savings. I'm sure when they were building up their savings, the plan wasn't to drain the savings away on hospital bills.

The cost is only a part of the equation. Another part is family dynamics (for example, does the mom have other children who also can help out? Or does it somehow only fall on the one daughter?).
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Old 06-19-2012, 09:18 AM   #53
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BigE and H2ODude make sobering points. The reality is, nobody lives forever. We all have to leave, one way or another. It's pretty clear that OP's MIL is leaving via lung cancer. Whether it's this year or next year is academic. It's not like she's going to make a miraculous recovery and live another meaningful, fulfilling 20 years.

Is it worth RCHT sacrificing a year of his own family's future retirement, to buy his MIL 2-3 more months of being bedridden and coughing up phlegm?

Nun suggested that there should be no limit to what we should spend on our loved ones. The question here is, should OP spend $5k to buy a few more months? But nun's math doesn't permit any limits on either side of the equation. Nun seems to be suggesting that $5k for 6 months is equally as valid as spending $100,000 for 1 month. Would you drain your 401(k) of $500,000 to buy a week? Sell your house for another day? As I said, they're going to die eventually anyway - isn't it selfish of them to expect you to sacrifice so much of your own life, so they can eke out a few more sunrises of their own?
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Old 06-19-2012, 09:18 AM   #54
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BigE brings up something I was hesitant to bring up. The whole thread seems to be about the cost. I'm wondering about the benefit? After my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer, had 1/3 of lung removed (very invasive) she still ended up with metastasis being diagnosed 2 weeks later. Passed ~5 months later. Saw same thing with FIL; multiple myeloma and tens or hundreds of thousands spent last month or two. I know there are no guarantees in treatments, but before I'd commit a substantial portion of family assets to it I'd want to know likely benefit. I suppose many will ask "how can you put a price on treating a loved one?" But not doing so is why health care is so beyond control now in my opinion. If healthcare is ever to be controlled it will have to rationed to some degree.
Same with my Dad. In hindsite, I am sure he would not have decided to have the surgery to remove part of his lung. His quality of life was never the same and he didn't last more than a year afterwards.
That said, it is difficult to know what decisions we would make given the same situation. It would certainly be less of a conumdrum if it was MIL's decision. Has anyone in the family or the family as a whole sat down with her to go over the alternatives, the expectations for her quality of life, the prognosis and lastly, the cost?
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Old 06-19-2012, 09:21 AM   #55
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I'm sure when they were building up their savings, the plan wasn't to drain the savings away on hospital bills.
But hasn't study after study shown that unexpected medical expenses are exactly what ends up consuming vast portions of peoples' retirement savings?

Shouldn't people have known this and planned for a big chunk of their nestegg to go towards fighting illnesses in their old age, rather than holding up their hands and crying, "How could I have known?"
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Old 06-19-2012, 09:23 AM   #56
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It is a tough choice to make. Many on this board have been in the position of being asked to help out those who are not quite as forward thinking as we would like, myself included.

Yes there are limited resources but you have to live with the results of the decision.

Think about how your choice will affect the rest of your life, and your relationship with your wife. It has to be a choice you both can live with.
Yes. I agree it's a very tough choice that both spouses have to live with the results. Hopefully, it's one that both really have agreed upon.
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Old 06-19-2012, 09:26 AM   #57
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But hasn't study after study shown that unexpected medical expenses are exactly what ends up consuming vast portions of peoples' retirement savings?

Shouldn't people have known this and planned for a big chunk of their nestegg to go towards fighting illnesses in their old age, rather than holding up their hands and crying, "How could I have known?"
I think a lot of people think, "That's what good health insurance is for. To cover major medical illnesses" instead of my life savings is pegged to cover medical expenses in my golden years. Then when they realize, they aren't fully covered 100% it isn't a matter of crying but of shock.
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Old 06-19-2012, 10:01 AM   #58
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I would pay it
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Old 06-19-2012, 10:07 AM   #59
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+1
+2. I wasn't direct in my earlier post, but I'd pay it too. This isn't about the MIL's behavior, what matters is DW - period. I'd pay, AND have a long discussion with DW about any future support so there's no misunderstanding between MIL, DW and self again. Might avoid issues if there's a "next time" as seems to be implied...

Like others here, I am paying for ongoing in home services for my MIL, though not as expensive (yet). I do it without any discussion for DW's peace of mind...easy call.
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Old 06-19-2012, 10:08 AM   #60
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I think a lot of people think, "That's what good health insurance is for. To cover major medical illnesses" instead of my life savings is pegged to cover medical expenses in my golden years. Then when they realize, they aren't fully covered 100% it isn't a matter of crying but of shock.
Healthy living is as important as having healthy savings to pay for medical care in one's old age. Hopefully, the former will mitigate or delay the need for the latter.

My paternal grandfather lived until he was 100 and 1/2 years old. His "secret", if you want to call it that, was remaining active, eating small meals, and adopting a mental outlook on life that minimized his stress. My maternal grandmother lived until she was almost 97 and did the exact same thing. Their respective spouses, unfortunately, did not do so and both passed away several years earlier (though still in their late-80s).

In regards to the OP's question, I would minimize everything discretionary in his MIL's life that costs money, perhaps going as far as assuming responsibility for her financial affairs. No more cigarettes, cable TV, cell phone, etc... Only then would I pay the co-pays for medical care (directly to the doctor's offices).
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