This is awful and was sent to me by a friend who is in his 90’s. I have directed him to this site so hopefully you will also hear from him soon. Since time is of the essence, I want to post for him now. First, have you ever heard about Medicare ‘running out’?
I have replied to him with a few posts that I could find about financial assistance but it is far from complete. Thank you for your help here. To quote my friend below:
“Thank you for the well thought out discussion on the decision making
process that now has turned into the issue of dialysis. Please help me
with that issue. I have a close friend in an ICU who is on Medicare.
He is on a respirator, three weekly dialysis treatments and his
Medicare is running out in a few days. He cannot qualify for Medicaid
because he and his wife, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s, own a
home. The children are in despair what to do. They were told it would
cost $10,000 a month to have him kept at home. BTW he is a bladder and
prostate cancer survivor and is in this condition due to an overdose
of antibiotics that destroyed his kidneys when he had pneumonia. Time
is of the essence.”
I found this info on the “Today’s Seniors” site: “Medicare will let a patient stay in the hospital for up to 90 days before he starts using up his lifetime reserve. If he has a Medigap plan, the secondary insurance will take up the slack. If he must stay in the hospital for the same illness or injury after this time, you start using the reserve days. A patient can use 60 reserve days before running out of them.” It sounds as if this gentleman may be close to using up his reserve days. The hospital social worker is probably the best resource at this point.
I guess one issue to consider is the likely outcome of this person. Someone who is in the ICU, on a respirator, and with failing kidneys (and likely other problems) may not recover to the point where quality of life will be acceptable. So, how long should care be continued?
There must be more to this story. Medicaid is available for those who have limited income and assets. However, Medicaid does not exclude those who own a home as long as they’re not living somewhere else permanently. If the patient/couple applied for Medicaid and were denied it, there may be other income or assets that the patient or couple have that the state believes could be used to pay for medical care. State taxpayers should only pay for care if someone cannot afford to pay for their own care. Hospital social workers or financial counselors can help patients understand the Medicaid system and file Medicaid applications. BTW, someone may apply for Medicaid and may be told he/she has income or assets that are too high requriing that he/she incur bills for part of the expenses before Medicad will pay the rest (called “share of costs” or “spend down”). Some states calculate what the patient owes each month while others calculate what the patient owes over a longer period (up to 6 months).