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My parents have used up all retirement funds and S.S. isn't covering all of their bills. They have Medicare & qualify for financial assistance through our hospital, so is it safe to cancel their expensive supplemental health coverage? I am not financially able to keep contributing as it hurts our finances. I was wondering would it be safe to cancel their supplemental health coverage shich is expensive. They have medicare and qualify for financial assistance through our hospital. This would pay for their meds and food. Even with partd some scrips are 40.00 or more a month.

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Jana ~ You need to be really careful when cancelling the secondary health care insurance. As others have posted here, once medicare has paid their portion, any balance not paid by medicare would be the responsibility of your parents. It is the not knowing that is the key. Of course, we would all like that crystal ball. Contact the secondary insurance carrier to see if there is a less expensive plan your parents can enroll in. Many times there is. Talk with a knowlegable representative from the carrier. If you need to go to a supervisor. Sometimes the representative that answers the phone is on a time restraint and won't give you much time. Tell whomever you talk to the problem that you are facing. The coverage your parents have may have options available to it. Also, talk with the employer your parents worked for. They, too may have health coverage that your parents (as retirees (yes, even disabled retirees) would be able to get in to. Also, talk with the department of aging in your area. There is a terrific publication that is available to everyone that answers all types of questions with regard to health insurance and other funds that can reduce payments (including reductions in heating/electricity etc...) It too, is available through the department of aging. Finally, if eligible you can go through the Veteran's Administration (if either of your parents are/were a veteran). They too can be very helpful. It is cumbersome work and takes alot of patience to navigate through all of the phone calls (transfer/dropped calls etc), but stay diligent without getting frustrated and angry. People do want to help. They just always aren't sure where to get started or what department to send you to. You will need to get permission from your parents to talk with many of these agencies (due to HIPAA). Again, there is a form that you can download and fax or mail to these agencies that will allow them to release information to you. Sometimes, many of these agencies will just need your parents authorization over the phone. I know its alot to digest, but cancelling the secondary insurance truthfully just place your parents and ultimately you in a financial burden later on down the line. Good luck!
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Hello Jana, Unless you are prepared to fund the final bill for health care for your parents, I would not cancel their supplemental insurance. Nevermind the drug aspect, it's the hospital and doctors you'll have to worry about as time goes on. Remember that before you die, you get sick, unless you're in an accident, so keep the supplemental premiums going. You should be prepared.
p.s. I know it's hard.
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I wouldn't cancel until you talk with a financial planner who really knows the health care system. It's complicated now more than ever, and you don't know what lies around the corner. I know it's tempting. Sometimes you do the math and wonder if it's worth it. But it's the unknown that is worrisome.
Carol
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Hi jana,
Sounds like you may be a member of the "sandwich generation" trying to keep your own family afloat while bailing out your parents too. God bless you! Until Congress gets serious about bringing home "affordable" health care you and your parents you are going to be between a rock and a hard place. You say that even with Medicare Part D some scripts are running $40.00 or more a month. Is this the supplemental coverage you wish to cancel? If so, consider this scenario: Say your parents require special drugs that are not covered by the financial assistance from the hospital. Now you are faced with a difficult choice. Either mortgage your family's future by paying the $400 + per month to keep your parent alive or explaining to mom or dad that you just can't afford to help them pay for these treatments anymore. At that point the cost of keeping up the supplemental coverage would seem difficult but affordable. That is why they are called "supplemental benefits" They don't let you off the hook but they buy you time so you can work out a better solution without sinking both your ship and your parents as well. Social Security works the same way for the expenses of daily living. It was never intended to provide a comfortable retirement--but to sustain retired or disabled persons while they and their family worked out an affordable solution.
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See if you can get the generic meds through Walmart or one of the $4.00 participators. Unless you're absolutely positive that all of their medical needs are covered, don't cancel their supplemental insurance. A friend had open heart surgery, medicare paid part of it, but if she hadn't had supplemental insurance she would have been facing more than $50,000 in unpaid medical bills.
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