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Cost of Care—Who’s Responsible?

Getting older brings with it a host of not only problems, but questions too. Where do I turn for help? How much is this going to cost? Who’s paying for it?
The truth is that there are laws in place that are called filial laws. They state that the adult children are responsible for the long-term care costs for their parents. Though, it should be noted that filial laws are quite rarely enforced. Nevertheless, let’s take a more in-depth look.

Filial Responsibility Laws

Over half the states in the country have what are called, “filial responsibility” laws. The rules set in place by these laws do not apply if someone qualifies for Medicare. In the event that the person does qualify, then Medicare will pay the bills. However, if the person cannot pay for care prior to getting help from Medicare, then the children might be required to pay, though many of them also take the adult child’s ability to pay into account as well.

The purpose of these laws is to lessen the burden the patient places on the state’s welfare system, and many allow long-term care providers to sue for payment, but still others also make failing to care for a parent a criminal offense.

However, as we said, oftentimes these filial laws are not enforced. This is simply because many elders who cannot pay for care on their own are able to get federal help through Medicaid, and federal law does not allow them to go after adult children. What’s more—many people who need help paying for nursing home care will often qualify for Medicaid, and it’s quite abnormal for someone to have a hefty bill prior to qualifying for Medicaid. Filial laws often don’t have any affect on families simply due to the fact there are so few opportunities to apply them.
In a number of states, all of the following things would need to hold true for a child to be held responsible for a parent’s cost of care:

• The parent got care in a state that has a filial responsibility law.
• The parent did not qualify for Medicaid when he or she was getting care.
• The parent does not have the money needed to pay the bill.
• The child has the money to pay the bill.
• The caregiver makes the choice to sue the child.

If you or someone you love needs assistance with Elder Care law issues, call 856-281-3131. Let us help ease your stress and give you a plan.

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