Enormous debt from emergency
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  1. #1
    Registered User greekislandgirl's Avatar
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    Default Enormous debt from emergency

    This is on behalf of a very good friend who was asking me for advice. I've never dealt with something like this before so I thought I'd ask you all. Any advice is appreciated.

    My friend is a graduate student in her 20s. Her mother was recently diagnosed with a very severe infection in her heart muscle which may require a heart transplant. She lives in Hawaii and has no medical insurance. She was taken to the hospital and a number of procedures were done... anyway she has about a 50% chance of getting well on her own and a 50% chance or going on a heart transplant list. The estimated cost of all of this is over $250,000.

    They (the mom and dad) have gone bankrupt in the past, about 5 years ago. They had a small business which failed and they lost pretty much everything including their house. The mom has been working, although I suppose she won't be anymore, at least until this whole thing is dealt with.

    They have four children. Three of these children are students and the other is more or less estranged.

    What would their options be? It seems it would be hard for them to get a loan considering they have a recent bankruptcy and very little income.

    Will the hospital just let her die if she can't pay? Is there anything they can do? The kids probably aren't in a position to take on a loan (both in terms of qualifying for it and in terms of paying it back). Mom is only 50 and would qualify for a heart if able to get on the list.

    Thanks for all ideas... and prayers for my friend's mom if you are the praying type.

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    Sorry for your friend's family. That's hard stuff.

    I believe if they fall within financial guidelines, she'll be eligible for Medicaid. If this ends up being long-term/chronic, she may be able to also apply for Social Security Disability which will qualify her for Medicare.

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    Registered User greekislandgirl's Avatar
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    Thanks, Starsapphire. That is very helpful.

    Unfortunately the dad is (and admits it himself) "hopeless with paperwork" and has no idea how to fill out papers and applications. My friend flew to Hawaii a few days ago to see her mom and to help with this. I don't think he'll be able to do these kinds of things on his own, based on what she's told me.

    Unfortunately they are alone in Hawaii - all their family lives on the mainland, their four kids live in four corners of the continental US and they only moved to Hawaii a few months ago so have no support network there. I want to call my friend but there's a 13 hour time difference (I think?) so it's hard to find a good time. I'm so worried about her... she's the "responsible one" in the family and I know this is all going to fall on her.

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    Registered User greekislandgirl's Avatar
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    also I've been reading up on heart transplants online -- I hope she won't need one, but if she does, apparently they are only viable for 6 hours so there's no way they could continue to live in Hawaii if she were on the list. They'd have to move in the middle of all this. What a disaster... I hope she can fight off this infection.

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    Is she still in the hospital? The hospital that the mom goes to should have a social worker. They should contact that person for help with getting that paperwork done.

    Hawaii has (or at least used to have) more services for elder and handicapped support than many states. The local community center or Social Services should be able to provide a list of appropriate resources.

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    Registered User Libby's Avatar
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    Have you checked out Heart & Stroke Foundation - maybe they can point you in the right direction for better resources?

    Sorry to hear about your friend's mom

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    Quote Originally Posted by greekislandgirl View Post
    also I've been reading up on heart transplants online -- I hope she won't need one, but if she does, apparently they are only viable for 6 hours so there's no way they could continue to live in Hawaii if she were on the list. They'd have to move in the middle of all this. What a disaster... I hope she can fight off this infection.
    One day at a time. One thing at a time. That bridge doesn't have to be crossed yet. Don't borrow more worry.

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    Registered User greekislandgirl's Avatar
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    social worker...okay! good to know. I didn't know hospitals had those! thank you for that tip. She's not in the hospital anymore, she was there for a week but was discharged about a week ago. She is home with some medical equipment trying to fight off the viral infection on her own (apparently they don't make drugs for this!).

    Libby, thanks for that tip - I will check them out!

    I want to do as much research as I can, so my friend can concentrate on helping her parents. I really appreciate your advice.

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    Registered User Winkie's Avatar
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    starsapphire is correct. The hospital should have a social worker who will help. Even if she is discharged, they can go back to the hospital for help with the paperwork.

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    Registered User Winkie's Avatar
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    Also, some hospitals actually offer to have someone come to the patient's home to help with Medicaid applications. It is in the hospital's best interest to help. If a person is on Medicaid, the hospital will get at least some reimbursement for their services. Otherwise, an indigent patient will not pay anything.

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    I would say definitely go on the list as it is much easier to be taken off at a later date if she improves. I think that if she/family starts making payments and in good faith wants to pay that the hospital will work with them.

    hugs to you and them.

    Others here will know more about this than I.

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    medicaid is retroactive for 3 months. Meaning if they apply today and get approved, Medicaid would go back 3 months and pay for things.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rachelj View Post
    medicaid is retroactive for 3 months. Meaning if they apply today and get approved, Medicaid would go back 3 months and pay for things.
    when we were in ohio it went back 6 months and the same in west virginia. Just give them medical bills for those months. Also try setting up a fundraiser to help with cost. You need to set up an account at a local bank, maybe do a 50/50 raffle (and sell tickets) we did this for a young mom and the person won a few $1,000 dollars and donated it back to the mom, her husband was in the military and she had a 12 year old son.

    After paying the bills they also helped the son with a last present from his mom after she passed.

    I am sending prayers through you to her , miracles do happen. You have to believe. Hugs

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    Registered User mh3rdwheel's Avatar
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    Also your friend can get all the info about doctors and her mom's condition, meds, etc. then file for disability online for her, keep copies. Get a paper from her doctor saying that she is disabled and what the disability is (this is for DHHS).

    Good luck to your friend's family.

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