My mom cannot afford supplemental insurance. What happens if she cannot afford her insurance bills?

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You should call her local social services office and get her started in qualifying for Medicaid. She has no assets to speak of, so she should qualify. Medicaid will then use her money and then pay the remainder of her care (in most states). Medicaid is a little different in each state, but you best options is to call social services and explain her situation. They should be able to get the process for Medicaid eligibility started. There's a lot of paperwork, but it's necessary.
Good luck,
Carol
If she has funds, they will take the funds and property provided she doesn't have a living spouse. Once everything has been taken and she has nothing but SS she can qualify for medicaid. If you try to take any money and do something with it now. There is at least a 3 year look-back as to what happened to her money.
There are 4 ways to pay for their (our elder's) medical care:
1) your mom can pay from her own income and assets
2) she purchased long-term care insurance to pay for it, done in advance
3) she can seek taxpayer assistance from Medicaid
4) family pays for their health care expenses

For Medicaid, they must show that
1) are 65+,
2) medical condition requires that a skilled level of nursing, for NH applications
3) monthly income is less than her states ceiling +/- 2K,
4) countable assets are less than $2000 and
5) not gifted away anything of value during the 5 yr look-back period.

They can have non-countable assets such as a homesteaded property (their home) that is under 500K/750K in value - depends on the state: a car; a non-revocable NCV funeral & burial policy; NCV term life insurance policy.

For Medicaid, everything is state specific as Medicaid is a joint federal & state. So what the rules are in NY are different than in TX.

Helenglow - whatever you do, if your mom should need to go into the hospital, please do NOT sign your name on any forms - otherwise you could be found financially responsible. If you are DPOA, then sign then as Ann Smith as DPOA for Mary Smith or sign Mary Smith's name.

If mom has not done the following paperwork, you should get these done IMHO:
-Durable Power of Attorney (not just POA and not a "springing" DPOA)
- Medical Power of Attorney
- Living Will &/or Advance Directives
- Declaration of Guardian in Event of Incapacity
- HIPAA Waiver
- Will or a Living Trust

I'm a firm believer in having an elder care attorney take care of all this. It will not be expensive as most is done by the paralegals. You do want to go in prepared with what the information is for the documents (e.g. the residence located at 123 ABC street, aka parcel #5678; Ann Smith, wife of John Smith, with the info on all the births, deaths & prior marriages) as well as valid ID for the elder. If the decisions have been already made, this should all simple, straightforward paperwork. Should take 1 - 2 hrs for intake & then 1 -2 hrs a couple of days later for the signatures to be done with a notary at the law office. Traditionally the office keeps a copy of all.

If mom has assets, then all this should be paid from her assets. This also is important if you ever get challenged both while she is alive and more importantly when you go thru probate. If you pay for all, and you benefit, then other family could go to court to find it a coerced document. Good luck.

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