Any tips for handling outstanding medical bills for Medicare recipient?

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My LO is was on disability for arthritis and now has significant dementia. Due to a lapse in her Part B, Medicare coverage,(long story she was not thinking clearly) she sustained some medical bills and ambulance bills that are past due. She's covered now, but not during the period she sustained these bills. It amounts to about $4000. She is now in a ALF and only gets to keep $66. per month of her disability check. She needs that for necessaries. I'm her POA. I don't see how she can even afford to pledge $20. of that per month on old medical bills.. If they file a lawsuit, there's nothing they could get, but a judgment. Any suggestions.

She does have an old car and some very used furniture that wouldn't bring much money.

(Also, I've looked into having her Part B reinstated for that lapse period so the bills will be covered, but Medicare would charge her for those lapsed months that she didn't pay in and she doesn't have the money for that. It would be almost $1000.00 she would have to pay Medicare Part B.)

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Sunny, you're not POA? Who is? Shouldn't they write this letter?
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If any creditors or collection agencies are bothering you about these debts, you can also put an end to that with a letter. You could actually add the following language (or something very similar) to the sample letter above-

"Pursuant to the provisions of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, I hereby demand that you cease any further attempts to contact the debtor, myself or any third party regarding this matter."

By law, the ONLY direct contact they can make after receiving this is an acknowledgement that they will make no further contact. (That never happens). If they violate your cease contact demand, you can actually sue them! They only have two options once you do this- pursue legal action to collect the debt or write it off. Your loved one is what is known as "judgement proof" in the collections industry. That simply means that, even if they pursued legal action and won, they would still get nothing. Can't get blood from a turnip and all that...
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Creditors may "easily sue you" but they wouldn't necessarily "easily win." Protect yourself in ways other posters have suggested, but don't lose any sleep over what happened in the past. Keep doing your best.
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If you do the letter - fab idea from Marggie - I would suggest that you go and rent a mail box that becomes her new address. You will need to do this as they will have to have a current DL to rent one, but then you use your DPOA authority to have stuff sent to the new box. You may want to consider having all her mail sent to this as it could make dealing with her paperwork easier & not commingling with your own stuff. I've found that you really don't want anything going to the AL/NH as they will go amiss (& they don't need to know about any debt issues) & you don't want it going to your home as the debt collectors will start hounding you and calling you at your number.

I'd suggest not to do an actual signature on the letter, just type it out as "Jane Smith Jones in her capacity as DPOA for Anne Smith". And don't put a phone number on the letter. It needs to be just the new mailing address on all correspondence from here on out.

BTW SS income is judgement proof from creditors, so too bad for any medical, or credit cards, etc trying to get it. Only the IRS can snatch SS.
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Thanks for you tips. I'll try to make some magic happen.

Taking care of my cousin's medical, physical, emotional, legal and financia affairs is a full time job. And I do without any compensation, though her POA says I should be paid for it. I think I'm doing a great job. I don't think any of her creditors could prove otherwise.
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Sell the old car and reinstate the Part B. Remember, as POA, it is your responsibility to manage her finances. They could easily sue you too.
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#1 -- I think I'd just let them sue if they're so inclined. As her POA, you might send each of them a brief letter:

Dear _____:

I am POA for my significant other. She is now in an assisted living facility being paid for by the state. (I'm assuming this.) She has advanced dementia. As a result, she let her Medicare Part B lapse, so your bill is not covered.

This is to advise you that she has no money to pay your bill and no assets from which you can recover any part of the amount due.

Sincerely,
You, as POA for ________ Account No. ______ or Invoice No. ______

#2 -- You can probably get $400 even in scrap value for her car. Put that towards the Medicare Part B Premium. Then beg, borrow, steal the other $600 from family and friends. It's so heartbreaking that a person can live their whole live and not be able to come up with $600...
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