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What Happens When You Don’t File for Medicaid When You Should #Medicaid

           Shelly called to ask the following questions, “Does my mom have to tell the nursing home where her bank accounts are located?”  In order to answer the question, I had to dig a bit deeper to find out what exactly was going on.  This is what I learned.

           Shelly’s dad had been in the hospital and then moved to a nursing home.  Shelly’s parents had very little assets and the nursing home told her mom she needed to apply for Medicaid.  While it isn’t clear why that was never done, Shelly explained that her mother had been overwhelmed with everything and had “shut down”.

             The application never was filed but Dad died 4 months after he entered the home.  Shelly and her mom thought that was the end of the problem until her mom received a bill for $40,000, the cost of care for those months.

            What happened after that isn’t exactly clear from what Shelly was telling me but it sounds like her mom continued to ignore the nursing home to the point where they sued her and received a default judgment.  She didn’t enter an appearance in the lawsuit and the home’s attorney went before a judge to obtain a judgment which orders her mom to pay the $40,000.

            Continuing to ignore the judgment, the next step was for the attorney to send what is called an information subpoena, directing her to provide information about her assets so that the attorney can take steps to collect on the judgment.

           What happened to Shelly’s mom is what I repeatedly tell people can happen- that ignoring the problem will not make it go away.  It will only make it worse.  Shelly told me that her mom does not have much money but there was a life insurance policy for $50,000 that her dad left to her mom.  “Is that money reachable”, she asked.

          Next week I’ll share with you what I told her.