If my grandmother doesn't want to pay her hospital bills, is that okay?

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My grandfather racked up about $40,000 worth of hospital bills and soon after, he passed away. My grandmother racked up about $10,000 worth of hospital bills. They both don't have Medicare A because they didn't work in the US long enough to qualify for Social Security (they are immigrants) but they have a fair amount of savings so they don't qualify for Medicaid.

My grandmother is exhausted and demential and sees the hospital bills and just says "Forget it. I don't want to pay it. What are they going to do to an old lady like me?"

Is she okay in doing that? Will I be responsible for her debt when she passes away?

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People, no matter their age, need to understand that America doesn't OWE them free stuff. Even though it's gotten trendy to think so, it ain't so. Because we -- the American citizens, taxpayers and payer of private health insurance -- end up getting socked for their delinquency. My dad had Medicare, and he STILL had to pay almost 50,000 our of pocket for nursing care while in rehab.
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They will eventually come after her estate for the money. In the meantime, you must NOT sign anything without using your POA (assuming you have one). Be careful. When Dad was in rehab, he went over his allowed time by only three days. (3 days equaled more than $900 out of pocket) The rehab facility administrator kept trying to get me to sign the papers for him without adding the "POA" at the end of my name. I showed my copies to the lawyer later, and he said that two of them would have obligated me personally to pay, if I had left off the "POA" designation as that woman had wanted. (Honestly, I might have just signed my name like she wanted, if I hadn't felt "pressured" by her, which made me so uneasy, I took back a few pages from the pile, to be certain the POA was on them.") Always CYA.
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Whoever has poa a should talk to a representative of the hospital. They will likely settle for partial payment if you get a lawyer involved. If you let it go they will send it to collection and see a judgement against her assets.
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noblerare, once gmo passes, her estate will need to pass thru probate court (even if there is a will....some states let smaller estates pass thru easier than others, but NOT if there are outstanding claims). the hospital & any other doctor bills, even the landlord, will file a claim in probate court for unpaid bills. yes any assets will be used to pay all creditors. hospitals are very wise about immediately filing a claim in probate, so you won't be able to avoid paying these bills out of the estate. if there is not enough money, then a judge will pro-rate the amounts so that all creditors get something. they keep her estate "open" for a certain length of time, to allow all creditors to file their claims. the heirs will not be able to get anything until the estate is settled. if you try to empty out the account (to avoid paying bills) the state will come after you.
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Valencom I do agree people shouldn't expect everything for free, but I think the prices charged are unreasonably expensive. It's as if people who have worked hard and saved are punished & their money is cleared out, and people who have lived off the system or carelessly handled their money are rewarded.
OP the answer is yes she does or they'll find a way to take it.
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Contact the Hospital and ask to negotiate the bill down to a reasonable amount. They are technically liable for that bill just like anyone else. I am surprised that the hospital allowed them to leave without signing something stating they would pay.
Any money left when they die must be used for outstatnding bills even if they don't have enough to go to probate.
It is true that we all bear the cost of unpaid medical bills through our taxes and higher insurance premiums.
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Why the h*ll would it be ok? You are asking if it's ok to be a dead beat? I think you know the answer to that one
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Noblerare, you will not personally be responsible for her debt, but your grandmother should make an effort to pay some of the hospital bill. You grandmother's attitude is why immigration reform should not be allowed.
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noblerare, if you are her POA, you are responsible to see that debts are paid. Many a POA has ended up in court for failing to see that bills are paid.
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I used to work for a patient account department in a local hospital. On the back of each bill there should be an application for financial assistance. Check it out and see if they qualify. I don't believe it matters if they have savings. They may qualify for a discount. Many hospitals have several different types of aid where you can qualify for 25%, 50%, 75% or 100%. even if they only qualify for a partial percentage it may leave a more manageable amount.
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