The Eldercare Thread - Page 5 - U2 Feedback

Go Back   U2 Feedback > Lypton Village > Free Your Mind
Click Here to Login
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 12-13-2010, 12:53 AM   #61
Forum Moderator
 
yolland's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 7,471
Local Time: 07:54 PM
Quote:
New York Times, Dec. 10

After immigrating to New York City from China in the 1970s, Z. Y. Tung and his wife worked hard—he as a bank manager, she as a public school secretary—lived frugally and saved every penny they could for the next generation. Until five years ago, when his wife, Wen Mei Hu, racked by bone-marrow cancer, had to be put in a nursing home, where the bills ran past $100,000 a year, threatening to quickly drain the couple’s life savings of $500,000. The nursing home told him not to worry: If he signed a document essentially refusing to support his wife of several decades, Medicaid, the federal insurance program for the indigent, would pick up the bill.

“What about me, because I am responsible?” Mr. Tung inquired. He was told that only millionaires had to pay such high costs, and reluctantly, seeing no other choice, he agreed.

Last year, more than 1200 people in New York City officially turned their backs on their husbands and wives to qualify for Medicaid, triple the number of people five years ago. The practice, known as “spousal refusal,” is becoming more common [nationwide] as the population ages and the cost of nursing care rises—and it is coming under increasing attack by government officials looking to curb ballooning Medicaid expenses.

...Lawyers for the elderly argue the tactic of spousal refusal is legal nationwide, and it is most commonly used in New York and Florida, where 136 people refused to support a sick spouse last year. Without the option of spousal refusal, lawyers say, American health care is like a ghoulish lottery. Those who need doctors’ care for illnesses like cancer or heart disease are covered by Medicare, the insurance program for the elderly, while those who need more custodial care for Alzheimer’s or stroke must pay for it themselves or dispose of their assets to qualify for Medicaid. The federal government allows a healthy spouse to keep a house, a car, up to about $2700 a month in income and up to about $110,000 in other resources. Anything above that must be spent on nursing care before Medicaid kicks in. Nursing home care cost an average of $123,000 a year in New York City and $135,000 a year on Long Island in 2008, according to the latest available state data, or twice as much as the tuition of the most prestigious colleges and more than the income of all but the top 20% of American households.

Howard Krooks, a lawyer who practices in Boca Raton, FL, and Rye Brook, NY, said spousal refusal was becoming more popular with bad economic times. “There’s no question it’s playing a pivotal role in people’s ability to finance long-term care,” he said. “They need help.” The way it works: the healthy spouse refuses to share the marital assets, and the sick spouse assigns his or her “right of support” to the state. The state will then pick up the cost of nursing home care, or in New York, home health care, as well. But there is a catch: the state, through the local governments that help administer Medicaid, can sue the healthy spouse to recover the cost of the care.

That’s what happened to Mr. Tung. In April, he received a letter from the city asking him to disclose his resources so that he might “contribute” to the care of his wife. Mr. Tung, who is now 79 and lives in Midwood, Brooklyn, readily submitted all of his financial information, he said, because he thought that the amount of the contribution would be voluntary and he was more than willing to pay, say, $10,000 a year or so. “I am an honest person,” he said. “I am willing to pay something for my wife.”

His monthly income, $2817, was low enough. But his assets, mostly mutual funds and stocks carefully socked away over the years, came to $550,000—$440,000 over the limit. The city asked that he pay $270,000, the bill for five years of home care. (His wife left the nursing home after a short time.) His lawyer, Pauline Yeung-Ha, negotiated a settlement of $150,000, which Mr. Tung has paid. If he had known this would happen, he said, he would have lived a less abstemious life. “If I know before, long ago, I spend all the money,” he said. “It’s very easy, very easy. Just buy a common house. It’s comic, you know.”

Lawyers generally advise that even with the potential of being sued, spousal refusal makes sense because Medicaid pays less for nursing home care than private clients do.

One of Mr. Krooks’s clients, an 86-year-old semiretired accountant who lives in Miami Beach, put his wife, who has Alzheimer’s, in a nursing home after she became aggressive. He had a long-term care insurance policy, but it did not cover his expenses, so he resorted to spousal refusal. Without it, “I would be bankrupt pretty soon,” he said, speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of facing a lawsuit to recover the money.

...Although some politicians, like Thomas R. Suozzi, a former Nassau County executive, who attacked spousal refusal as a Democratic primary candidate for governor in 2006, have charged that the tactic is abused by “millionaires,” New York City officials say that is seldom the case...In 2005, the city worked on 394 cases and collected $1.5 million; in 2009, there were 1258 cases, and the city collected $3.7 million. “The number of cases the city pursued was a good reflection of the number filed each year,” Ms. Boon said. “But the city recovered from only a fraction of those, because in most cases the spouse does not have the financial means to allow any significant contribution.”
I'd never heard of 'spousal refusal' before this, but I do remember a couple instances from the nursing home my mother lived at of mentally incapacitated residents whose spouses, after losing huge portions of their retirement savings in a frighteningly short amount of time due to the other spouse's needs, reluctantly went ahead and divorced them so as to protect their own futures.

A-ways down the road yet for anyone in here perhaps, but statistically...

Of course, this does also have the effect of contributing to Medicaid's ballooning costs. Now there are the two plans for Medicare/Medicaid reform being considered in Washington (Domenici-Rivlin and Simpson-Bowles)...we'll see what comes of that once the next session of Congress starts, I guess. Not optimistic...
__________________

__________________
yolland [at] interference.com


μελετώ αποτυγχάνειν. -- Διογένης της Σινώπης
yolland is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2010, 03:33 PM   #62
Blue Crack Addict
 
Liesje's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: In the dog house
Posts: 19,557
Local Time: 01:54 PM
I'm sorry but I think attributing this trend to "bad economic times" is hilarious. How about attributing it to the fact that nursing homes cost hundreds of thousands of dollars? Or the cost of medical care/coverage in this country in general? My grandma's bed was $6700/mo and that was just to BE there, that did not cover her doctor bills, medications, etc.
__________________

__________________
Liesje is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2010, 09:54 AM   #63
Blue Crack Addict
 
MrsSpringsteen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 24,999
Local Time: 01:54 PM
My mother does some volunteer work at a nursing home and she's become close with this one lady who is 85 and has diabetes and other health issues. Mentally her health is still there but she is not assertive on her own behalf. Last week they actually took her out of the facility for a mammogram-just "routine", she has no lumps or anything like that. She was complaining to my mother about how painful it was and how it took such a physical toll on her just to leave there and go out for that. Clearly they're doing that for financial gain and they're putting that above her well being. Just completely morally wrong.

She has four kids and one lives nearby but apparently isn't involved enough to know that is going on and to intervene. Someone needs to advocate for her. They have social workers but they are on their payroll.

They bring her things in her meals that she's not supposed to be eating-my mother told her that but apparently they're not paying enough attention, or they just don't care.
__________________
MrsSpringsteen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2010, 10:51 AM   #64
Blue Crack Addict
 
Liesje's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: In the dog house
Posts: 19,557
Local Time: 01:54 PM
You're right so many people have no one to advocate for them. My grandpa is "all there" mentally, but he is from the generation where the Dr. knows best and you don't challenge anything that you're told, you don't call the insurance to fight a bill when you are overcharged. He just assumes that people are honest and straight-laced with him and they are not. Now it is like having a child, someone needs to go to all the Dr. appointments with him and make sure he is making the best decisions for himself, not just what he thinks the Dr. would want him to choose. Someone has to review all of his bills and EOBs. Lately he has been receiving things from medical suppliers that he did not order, and then they send a bill. He doesn't understand that he has to send it back and tell them he doesn't want those supplies even though he never ordered them in the first place. And this is someone that is fully functioning mentally, and still physically able to live on his own and care for himself.
__________________
Liesje is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2010, 12:36 PM   #65
Blue Crack Addict
 
Moonlit_Angel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: In a dimension known as the Twilight Zone...do de doo doo, do de doo doo...
Posts: 19,272
Local Time: 12:54 PM
That's a really screwy situation, that spousal refusal thing. And the healthy spouse can be sued? 'Cause, you know, it's not like they don't have enough to worry about, being concerned for their loved one's well being. Nah, we'll add a lawsuit to their troubles. Ridiculous.

The cost for care is indeed the most absolutely insane thing about health care in this country, and the fact that so many politicians and other groups and whatnot don't realize that truly pisses me off to no end (let's just say I found myself yelling at my TV and ranting a LOT when the health care battle was going on late last year/early this year). I'm sorry I missed this thread from when it originally was going, I could rant at length about that in relation to my family's situation earlier this year (as well as off and on over the past 10 years or so) with my dad. The events of this past year have taken so much of a toll on my mom, I really worry about her sometimes because of all the stress she's been put under, voluntarily and involuntarily. I know too much stress can make people sick, and I'm terrified of that one day happening to her.

Also, I read through the stories in here, and late though it may be, I'd like to extend a and condolences to everybody here who's had to go through this nightmare with loved ones. I know full well what you've all gone through or are perhaps currently going through, and you have my total sympathy and support.

Angela
__________________
Moonlit_Angel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2010, 09:52 PM   #66
Rock n' Roll Doggie
 
the iron horse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: in a glass of CheerWine
Posts: 3,252
Local Time: 01:54 PM
I hope we can find some solutions.
__________________
the iron horse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2010, 09:49 PM   #67
Rock n' Roll Doggie
 
the iron horse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: in a glass of CheerWine
Posts: 3,252
Local Time: 01:54 PM
elevation >
__________________

__________________
the iron horse is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:54 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Design, images and all things inclusive copyright © Interference.com