Who pays for Mama’s nursing home bill

Who pays for Mama’s nursing home bill?

Well, the answer to that question (and most questions asked by a lawyer) is – IT DEPENDS.

Nation wide, most short term nursing home bills (up to 100 days) are paid for by Medicare.

Those long term nursing home stays are typically paid for by the patient themselves, or Medicaid if the family meets state Medicaid criteria. Occasionally, long term care insurance exists and will foot the bill.

And according to an article in Forbes Magazine published yesterday, children are now being stuck with the bill if Medicare, Medicaid and Mom refuse.

So what kind of bill could you child, be obligated to pay for Mama?

By: Tony Alter
By: Tony Alter

Well at $6,000 a month, it doesn’t take long for the costs to add up. And for what, you may ask? $6,000 a month includes meals, room, board and on average, about 3.5 hours of direct nursing care a day. Oh, and 1 physician visit a month (which is separately billed to your insurance carrier)!

Sound like a deal? Maybe if you own a nursing home.

Be sure you know what your obligations are before you sign a loved one into a nursing home. Do they expect you to pay? Are you the “responsible party” and expected to pay what Medicare or Medicaid won’t?

The laws are not always fair, or just. Be sure to read any nursing home contracts before signing them and if your state appears on the list above (and of course Virginia does!) perhaps a letter or two to the General Assembly is appropriate as well.

Lauren Ellerman
Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at lellerman@frithlawfirm.com.