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My mother is 86 and has Medicare + a great supplemental insurance she pays for.


I am on Medicaid only and can barely contribute to rent and utilities, if I can. I am living under her roof and am 55.


Medicaid last time I spoke to them wanted to see Mom because they said even though her social security is a little too high she could possibly qualify for Medicaid with copay for services.


By getting her into the Medicaid pool, they said they could become a third payor of medical bills and help her save money.


We are both incredibly short for money. I just found out today that she got a bill for over $200 a couple of months ago from the fire department going back to 2017 ambulance when she was dangerously sick. She has agreed to pay $30 per month and I reminded her I have no money to help with this.


Where I believe it gets dangerous is that she is currently paying off one ambulance and if she needs one now may hesitate because of a final cost sent to her. She already had according to her 2 very toxic reactions to cleaning chemicals over the past three weeks I just found out. I told her she should have called 911 and she said nothing.


I want to get her to talk to Medicaid in person if possible next week and she does not want to. I'm concerned she ought not to be paying this bill and the only way to know is to do what Medicaid rep told me and bring her in. The idea makes mom very upset.


We had yet another conflict over Money. I believe I can't let this go. Do you agree, or should I let this go? Aside from social security and whatever I pay for, mom is destitute. I see this bill as an injustice. We do not have a car and I rely on public transportation.


I have also told her yet again that until her ambulance is paid she is not to spend any money on me of any kind. I have told her we are both too old for that now. She does not want to hear this either and gets very upset.

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You really should check with your Fire Department to see if they have a program that waives that out of pocket fee. Legally I believe they have to bill everyone if they are billing Medicare and insurance but particularly if they are a Town Service and not a private ambulance they often don't expect any out of pocket expense to be paid and might in fact have specific programs set up so people like your mom know they aren't cheating the system or anything.
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Whatever it takes, try very hard to get your mother on Medicaid. Her situation is exactly what it was meant for. Can they send an intake professional to her home, to interview her there?

I advise being present for the interview. Persons like your mother (and mine) tend to minimize their problems. You can gently keep things accurate. Here is an example of my mother's interview:

Intake worker: Can you get your own meals?
Mom: Oh yes. I am a good cook.
Daughter: It is certainly true that you are a good cook. Now you can only use the microwave, and since you have a walker it is very hard for you to get food from the refrigerator to the microwave and then to your table.

Absolutely have Mom talk to a Medicaid intake worker!
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Jean1808 Apr 13, 2019
I was afraid I was losing my mind. Thank you! Other folks who replied also made great points. Please, everyone, keep those replies going.

Mom is on a walker when she leaves the apartment since September last year and sometimes uses cane inside. She moderates what she says because of her concern about what other people will think. I was taught years ago to forget my pride.
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If this was a township Fire company, they may not be able to bill her.
Our local Fire company can bill Medicare for Ambulance services. It pays for the EMTs. They have to receive what they get. The people that do the billing will try to collect the difference. As residents, we don't have to pay it. Also, our fire/ambulance is covered in our taxes so we really shouldn't be billed at all.

I would check this out with your tax department.
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Isthisrealyreal Apr 12, 2019
Not necessarily, it depends on where you live.

I have to actually pay a fire company for fire protection, my taxes don't provide that service.

However, 5 miles down the road, in the city limits their taxes cover all emergency services.
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If your mom has a great supplemental insurance, why does she have a lot of medical bills? Do you know that most doctors and hospitals will not bill 3 insurances? In fact some won’t even bill a secondary insurance. So you would have to the grunt work trying to get Medicaid to pay her outstanding bills after Medicare and her supplemental have paid their share. Have you checked to see if all of her doctors take Medicaid?

as far as the outstanding bill, what does that have to do with her going in to talk to Medicaid? Either she pays it or she doesn’t. I think rather than stewing over her paying the bill, you should try find out if she is even responsible for that bill. Did Medicare pay any of it? Contact the city that issued the bill, they may forgive it because she is a senior citizen on Medicare. I know that when my city fire felt started billing people who called 911–which was totally ridiculous because our taxes pay for their services already, they justified charging people because they insist on having a paramedic on every truck-anyway when they were billing people there were exceptions for people on Medicare and medi-cal.
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This is rough but it is a bill that should be paid. If she set up a $30 a month payment plan then she must have already discussed the balance with someone there.

I myself don’t understand why everyone thinks everything is free. It’s not free. Someone pays. If it was a service that your mother used in her hour of need then why not pay it? I do see your point that she may not call 911 when she needs it because she has no support financially and no one other than herself to count on but that’s a decision only she can make. What would worry me is that I couldn’t help her more and then have my mother worrying about my state of affairs at age 55 when she spent her all her money on me.

Are you not able to work? What’s going to happen to you if your mother passes away? Will you be able to stay in her home and pay taxes and upkeep?

Also please go through her cleaning supplies and change then to non toxic.
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worriedinCali Apr 12, 2019
As a taxpayer, her mother has already paid for emergency services in my humble opinion. I say that as the wife of a public servant. Fire, police and ambulance are all services our taxes pay for.
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This is a medical expense that can probably be claimed on your taxes so it might be a "wash"
If this is causing a real hardship contact the village and or senior services and see if the bill can be reduced or forgiven.
Did you (or your Mom) submit this bill to the insurance company? It is possible that they may cover it depending on the policy and type of coverage.
Side note...I would remove toxic cleaning supplies. Replace with non toxic cleaning products. If you need stronger chemicals keep them in an area that she can not get to and do not buy any that will have toxic reactions if they are mixed. Like bleach and ammonia.
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Jean1808 Apr 12, 2019
Evidently insurance paid part, and this is what is left. She has an updated plan that might pay more going forward. She said she called and obtained this agreement with them for payment, but she is afraid that she has to pay it or it will go to an important department or something.

When she told me about the toxic cleaning supplies today I threw them out. She had not. I told her I would research non toxic. I told her to take a break from cleaning and I would bring something home in a week or so. It would be great if I finally found something I could use. I can't even use 7th generation bathroom cleaners.

She has lupus and we have both nearly died from influenzas the past few years. I'm usually the one who brings them home from work, etc. That's why we started the chemicals this year.

I have severe asthma and can't even tolerate white vinegar to clean. I just use soap and water.

Right now, if I lost mom, I would be homeless. Together, when I'm employable, I contribute enough to keep us going. Once a few years ago before I got sick I was able to claim her as dependent because I paid over half. I was so proud. Then I got sick, had no insurance, and went through all my savings. All I have left. is a tiny bit of IRA, then I'm penniless. I'm applying to work but not the best candidate in a pool of hundreds.
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