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I have resently retired to help my mom. Every thing seems like it's going to hell- this pandemic is not helping. Need advice on how to handle this. Mom's church friends are very helpful, I feel numb

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Make an appointment with Social Security about your mom's Medicare. Take mom with you. Have a representative walk you through your mom's current insurance and what she qualifies for. Get her the best options you can given the situation.

Please consider getting an appointment with a lawyer that handles family law. Have the lawyer draw up a simple will for your mom and name you as executor, Also have powers of attorney for medical and financial drawn up so you can manage her affairs.
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Reply to Taarna
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Your profile mentions dementia. You can try calling Medicare, but if she isn't able to understand confirming they can talk to you, it will be difficult. They might be willing to answer general questions, such as how one can re-sign up for Part B, but not specific questions. She may end up paying add'l penalty cost. Also note: Parts A and B don't cover everything! She might need drug coverage, etc. They offer these (Part D, MediGap, etc) as do many other ins Medicare Advantage plans.

The first step (other than perhaps consulting with EC atty - hopefully you have all the POA, will, etc done) is to sign up as Rep Payee for your mother. While we're still in the later days of the virus, this may have to be done on the phone, but call the local office, not the 800# and tell them you want to sign up as Rep Payee for your mother. NOTE: NO federal entities accept any kind of POA.

I had to make an appt at the local office, answer their questions, present my ID and wait for approval. It was not difficult. My mother was NOT with me, and they didn't look at anything I brought with me. Once approved, the first check after that will be a check. You open a Rep Payee account, which will be ONLY her SS money and ONLY you can access it. This will also give you access to Medicare and the ability to discuss her needs!!! Reporting is done yearly, but isn't difficult and can be done online, through YOUR SS account.

If Medicare won't talk to you until you become Rep Payee, hang tight and keep her safe! Once approved, you will be able to have a talk with them as her rep. Hopefully she is not living alone. It sounds like she needs supervision.

It does sound rather odd that she doesn't have Part B due to lack of payment. In general, the cost is automatically deducted from SS. If she got some kind of supplemental plan, MediGap, Medicare Supplement or some other insurance Advantage plan, they can be set up to be paid through SS as well (my Medicare and MA costs are both deducted.) The only way I can think hers wasn't paid is if she opted out of it. Part B isn't required, but most people take it. If she doesn't get SS or RRB, then she would have received a bill for Part B. Hard to even think who might not get SS.

When you are approved to talk with them, try to find out what happened. IF she cancelled it, explain the dementia and see if there's anything they can do to get it restored. It is possible that she never signed up for it? An AARP site says you're automatically signed up if you are on SS before age 65, but

Medicare signup instructions include:
"If you don’t want Part B, follow the instructions that come with the card, and send the card back. If you keep the card, you keep Part B and will need to pay the Part B premium. "
and
"How can I pay my Part B premium? If you get Social Security, Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), or Office of Personnel Management (OPM) benefits, your Part B premium will be automatically deducted from your benefit payment."

So, it sounds rather odd that she wouldn't have Part B, unless she's done something like cancel it or opted out at age 65.

NOTE, if you have access to her card, check this:
"If you have Part A, “Hospital (Part A)” is printed on the lower left corner of your card. If you have Part B, “Medical (Part B)” is printed on the lower left corner of your card."

Just after this (lots of info at https://www.medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/11036-Enrolling-Medicare-Part-A-Part-B.pdf), it suggest calling the SS office. Previous documents state that SS actually oversees the Medicare, so you might be able to get info from them as well.

"You can also call or visit your local Social Security office, or call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 for more information about Part A and Part B eligibility."

(local office might be better - less time on hold? depends on what area, ours was quick!)
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Reply to disgustedtoo
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disgustedtoo May 30, 2021
"You open a Rep Payee account, which will be ONLY her SS money and ONLY you can access it."

Sorry, I forgot to add that once you have that first check and the account is set up, you can call the local office and provide the routing and account number to have electronic deposits done. Only that first payment has to be a check, if you do this.
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Not positive about this, but I had been told by friends that it is possible to not have Medicare Part B deducted from Social Security - they were looking to expatriate and did not want to pay for coverage they thought they would never use. But frankly I don't think it is wise to go this way. Best to just have it deducted from Social Security check. Of course, if you have not qualified for Social Security, then you would not get a check from which it is deducted. Is Mom's problem something like this? Medicare should be able to advise on how to get this fixed. I have heard that resuming PartB after a lapse might mean a higher premium.
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Reply to rovana
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JoAnn29 May 30, 2021
The only reason you don't sign up for Part B is if your are still working and your covered by an employer. Otherwise, I think there are penalties for not signing up at 65.
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Could be something I never heard of, but if she gets SS check the payment should be coming out of that. If she signed herself up for some kind of alternative medicare plan, perhaps that's how it happened. I suggest calling SSA, with mom available to get you added as being able to talk to them, so you can discuss and find out how to fix it.
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Reply to my2cents
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Call the Medicare Hotline. They are there 24/7 and have been very responsive when I call and are very patient with any stupid question I have. 1-800-633-4227
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Reply to Frances73
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disgustedtoo May 29, 2021
There are no stupid questions, just stupid answers (or so they say!!!) Good to know that Medicare reps are responsive and patient!
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Might want to seek guidance from a certified elder law attorney.
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Reply to gdaughter
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I collected SS at 65 so my Medicare became automatic at 65. When my card came (and DHs too) I had part A and B. The $144 premium was taken out of my SS (and DHs) every month. Why wasn't Moms set up like that? Was she still working passed 65 with employer coverage and signed up with Part B later.

I would call Medicare first. Office of Aging maybe able to help.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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graygrammie May 29, 2021
I was wondering that as well. It is taken out of my SS monthly. My husband was civil service (and didn't contribute enough with other jobs to qualify for SS -- believe it or not, he had 39 quarters, only needed one more for social security) and his is taken monthly out of his retirement. I thought this was pretty much automatic. So that makes me wonder how it could have been deactivated for nonpayment if she didn't take the steps to deactivate it.
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I would find a local Medicare Specialist insurance broker, not a specific company representative, a broker represents all available carriers. They can help you get her sorted out. It won't cost you anything, they are commissioned from the companies they sell insurance for.

You are correct, she doesn't have full coverage insurance right now and any illness can be catastrophic financially. Start searching today and get an appointment asap.

If you do not fully understand what you are responsible for as her POA, you can go to your states attorney general website and research what the law is regarding this. You can also contact the local area on aging and they will provide you with tons of free information and resources to ensure that you are dealing with your POA duties correctly.

Best of luck getting this all sorted out. I am sorry that your mom is failing, it is never easy but, somehow it just seems soooooo much worse during the pandemic.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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If your Mom's assets will allow it, please consider a Licensed Fiduciary to help you arrange and walk through things if you are taking over as Financial POA and don't understand fully your duties under the law (you are ALSO legally a fiduciary for your Mom, and need to keep meticulous records; I myself kept a diary when I did this as well).
Now to the question; You need to call 1-800-medicare. You will be on the phone with them a long time. Have your Mom in the room, as she will need to speak to them as well, if able. Request a form from them (or get online) allowing you to share her information/get her information. When you get them ask about the question above as well. You will be on hold as long as an hour, so be ready to sit, have coffee and a chat with Mom.
I wish you luck. The first year is full of anxiety; I took over as POA and Trustee of Trust for my bro, and there's a real learning curve. Not certain if off the wall anxiety or numbness is the best.
Good luck. Hope you'll update us.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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So sign up again with Medicare and make sure it is always paid for timely. Or is there more to this situation?
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Reply to vegaslady
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Ricky6 May 30, 2021
One cannot just “simply” signup again for Medicare, There are underwriting requirements and penalties that will be applied. We do not know all the details here, I think an elder care lawyer would be helpful, The lawyer may be able to see some way of rectifying this situation favorably for the mother.
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