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Could You Get Stuck With Your Parent's Nursing Home Bill?

That's a question you better ask yourself and know the answer to now.

Here's why. A recent Pennsylvania decision, Health Care & Retirement Corporation of America v. John Pittas, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania ruled that a son can be held liable for his mother's nursing home bills. The case involved a woman who moved to Greece without settling her more than $90,000 nursing home bill. The court found that her son was liable for her nursing home bill. It ruled that a child capable of paying their parent's healthcare bills is required to pay them.

“So far, Pennsylvania is leading the charge to require adult children to foot their parents' long-term care bills. However, 29 states have laws in place that could require adult children to provide this financial support and there is reason to believe that other states will follow Pennsylvania's lead, although for now, states have varying degrees of enforcement,” says Mitch Adel, senior partner with the law firm of Cooper, Adel & Associates. “In Ohio, for example, the law is even more punitive than Pennsylvania's, as the Ohio statute makes it a criminal offense to fail to provide that support.”

What's driving the change? “The combined impact of states facing budget shortfalls and the demographics of aging Baby Boomers who are living longer and increasing the cost of long term care, means that states are reexamining laws that may assist third party creditors in compelling adult children to pay their parents' nursing home bills,” says Adel.

The tab can be huge. According to the Genworth 2012 Cost of Care Survey, the median annual rate for a private nursing home rate is $81,030.

“As in most situations, the wealthy will be able to afford a wide variety of long-term care options and have access to various financial planners and professional assistance. The poor will qualify for the various entitlements such as MediCaid/MediCal, unless the political landscape changes so drastically as to remove these entitle, they will not have major concerns. The middle-class family is in for a wild ride when it comes to planning for aging parents,” warns Forrest Hong, LCSW, C-ASWCM, a social work/care manager, who works extensively with families who are in the process of planning for their long-term care needs.

What can you do?

Talk to your parents long before trouble arises. Get a sense of what their financial situation is and how they will pay for care. Where are the gaps, discuss how you might fill them. “It's better to have the discussion up front than to manage in crisis mode,” says Jason Parker, a certified retirement financial advisor, and president of Parker Financial.

Encourage them to purchase long-term care insurance. Long term care insurance can help with costs like nursing home bills and other such costs.

Speak with a geriatric social worker/care manager. Before thinking about nursing home as a long-term care option, speak with a geriatric social worker/care manager. Develop a long-term care plan with that professional. They can provide referrals to reputable and knowledgeable financial and elder law professionals who can address those aspects of the plan, says Hong.

Do your research. Find out what benefit programs and resources are available that may help at your parents stay in their own home. What does your area offer in terms of assisted living facilities and in nursing homes. You want a good idea of what's what, before you need it. It's ill advised to make major decisions when you're in the middle of the situation, stressed and may not be thinking clearly or have time to explore all your alternatives. Poor decisions can be costly.

However, “Nursing home placement is a very expensive option and should only be considered if someone is bed-bound, needs 24-hour, 7-days a week care of a medical nature,” says Hong.

“Never take your parents to a nursing home without first consulting with a professional geriatric social worker. If you do this on your own, you will be left holding the bag, or in this, the bill,” he warns.

Pay the bill yourself. Another option, is to prepare to pay for the nursing bill yourself, says Adel. That's easier said than done, with many Boomers wondering how they will fund their own retirement, picking up the tab for mom or dad's care, much as they might want to, just isn't a realistic possibility.

Be proactive. Whatever you do, do something, now. The situation can be challenging to say the least. “My folks became unable to care for themselves at the same time when my oldest child was preparing for her freshmen year of college. The financial and emotional pressure from those two converging forces were tremendous,” says Michael Fliegelman, president of SWAN, Strategic Wealth Advisors Network.

His mother had Parkinson's disease and macular degeneration and his dad had a brain stem stroke followed by numerous TIAs (transient ischemic attack). Within five years their savings were wiped out by assisted living facility costs, the cost of an aid that lived with them in the assisted living facility, and medication. “These costs brought their cost of living to around $15,000 a month.” His parents passed a a couple of years ago. Says Fliegelman, “But my wife's parents are now ill.”

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Squeezer @Personal Finance Success
Squeezer @Personal Finance Success   |     |   Comment #1
What about if it is a situation in which the adult child has not talked to the parents in 20 years?  Should the child still be responsible to pay?
me1004   |     |   Comment #2
I'm not clear on some of these details. Seems to me that the child would only pay if the parent were not able to pay. But if the parent were not able to pay, then that should mean they are eligible for Medicaid, which would pay. 

So, what is missing in this explanation? With that Pennsylvania case, it appears the circumstance was that someone who maybe could pay skipped out of the country and left the bill behind. So, in that circumstance, it fell to the child -- maybe only because the parent could pay. So, in effect, this is a situation where the parent has the money, the child is paying and THEORETICALLY can have the parent pay him/her back, or maybe simply inherit it later. 

Also, was the child perhaps handing over a check each month all along, and reimbursing themselves form the parent's account -- and as such had legally taken on responsibility for paying because they had been handing over their check all along? I have heard of this situation being a factor in New Jersey.

This law seems to be on when the parent is able to pay -- but tried to skip out so they can leave an inheritance instead.

This might be very well as it appears in this story. But I also wonder if a court case with very specific particulars is being misinterpreted by the powers that stand to gain, such as sellers of longterm care insurance, who are looking to scare people -- not necessarily, I'm just wondering. But I will say, not everyone is at all close to their parents -- I would bet some would not even know that their parents had been in longterm care. I also find it hard to believe that a child can be made to pay for decision made by someone else that they had no control over -- such as maybe going into a longtime care situation when they really had no need of such just yet. If the child were not conservator, they would have no legal status to make decisions that we are being told they will have to pay for. I just see any number of legal problems with as law as described in this story. (BTW, is the Supreme Court in Pennsylvania the high court, or is that trial court? In New York, the Supreme Court is the trial court. I ask, because trial court certainly is not the final word.)
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #3
What the heck does this have to do with bank deposit deals?

I guess since there are no more bank deposit deals, this site has turned to general financial 'fluff' articles like this instead.

Goodbye Ken.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #4
Good article and something everyone should be aware of.  However, too much information is missing without all the facts being presented. 
lou   |     |   Comment #5
With all due deference to the author, this article doesn't make sense. No way a child is responsible for a parent's long term care unless, as me1004 describes, the child was somehow spending the parent's money which would have been used for their care. There is much more to this story than presented here.
lou   |     |   Comment #7
Well after doing some research, I have to admit that Sheryl may be describing a situation that may be increasingly inforced by the states in the future. Most states have these laws (rooted in 17th century common law) on the books but have never inforced them. Wiith all the baby boomers retiring, the long term cost for medicaid and on state budgets could skyrocket in the future, forcing states to enforce these obscure laws.

I purchased long term insurance a couple of years ago and equivocated for many months before deciding to go ahead with the purchase. I hope to never have to use the insurance, but am glad I have it in case I ever need it. The situation that always worried me is the one where one spouse needs long term care and the other spouse lives for many years after the infirmed spouse dies. if most of the assets were spent on the long term care of the sick spouse, will the surviving spouse have enough money to live out his/her remaining years.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #8
Anon #3.....If you don't like it......go somewhere else. This is financial situation that many are having to deal with. i appreciate the info. Maybe you should start your own web page.


Goodbye #3.
Inforay   |     |   Comment #9
I really appreciate insights provided by ME1004 and Lou and guidance by Anonymous #6.  This is a really important topic for responsible parents who don't want to cause undue burden on their children and we would be well-advised to look into the laws of our state.  I read the link to the California Family Code and it seems likely that if the state/creditor wants it might be able to come after children who are doing reasonably well for "necessities" whatever that means.  I am not sure what would be a good age to purchase Long Term Care insurance and my concern is that even if I can afford it in my fifties, I may not be able to afford to pay the premiums in my seventies.  What then?  Lou if it's not asking too much, could you possibly  provide information about the LTC you purchased and the company.  Thank you.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #10
How about this.  Keep the laws, but I get a 1:1 dollar credit on my federal income taxes.  I would prefer my parents get the money rather than the G-men who give it to some illegal mexican.  I mean, I payed 100,000 in federal taxes last year.  And no, I am not a bigot.  I am just honest.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #11
Is it just me, or are people really getting RED discussing this subject?
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #12
I thought the U.S. was not a Communist country?
Anonymous #13
Anonymous #13   |     |   Comment #13
#12 I'd appreciate your going into further detail on how legislation requiring someone to support their parents relates to communism. I'm confident you've thought this issue through in considerable detail, so I suspect this has great potential for becomming a significant teachable event.


lou   |     |   Comment #14
Inforay, I bought a Genworth California Partnership Policy. It covers $200 a day for residential and/or home health care for four years. The benefits are compounded at 5% annually. I bought two policies for my wife and myself. I bought the Partnership Plan because it would be much more dificult for Genworth to raise premiums on these plans. There is a whole another layer of bureaucracy  overseeing these plans.

Although the Genworth plan had the best benefits for the price, I was worried about their financial condition. They have had some difficulties with their mortgage insurance division in recent years, but after much research, I concluded they would survuve these problems. One caveat is that I heard they increased their premiums for newly issued policies last month and have tightened their underwriting requirements. I would think about getting this insurance in your fifties because it gets prohibitly expensive the older you are. Also, it becomes more difficult to qualify for insurance.

#10, with your income the state will not only require you to pay for your parents, but your neighbor's parents as well. :)
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #15
This is an important topic. Long Term Care can wipe out many people's savings. With health cost skyrocketing and baby boomer getting to retirement age, the state may not be able to foot the bill. It's very possible a law that was there but never really be enforced will be used by creditors.

However, the time has changed, a parent's debt shouldn't be a child's responsibility by default. Even if the child is willing to help, he/she may not have the capability or it's at the cost of depleting the child's asset too which is very possible. I do see lots of law issues coming up, such as a child has no say if the parent should get into a private nursing home or an alternative care, has no say of which private nursing home the parent choose, etc. Let along the situations of a child and parent have no contact in 20 years, and end of with a huge bill... this can go on and on...

As a good practice, people in age of 50s should consider LTC insurance, as the laws don't change that fast.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #16
One way or another the government wants to have too classes of people in this country.  The top "1 percenters" and the rest poor peasants.  If the Feds can't do it with their measly interest rates on savings and CD accounts, the government has now found still another way.  With all the advances in technology, they know everything.  Who has what, where, and how much money.  You got it..............they want it and will get it! 
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #17
The look back period is 5 years. So if you have gifted to anyone within the last five years they are responsible to pay it back to pay for nursing home care before Medicaid kicks in. So you must have at least 5 years nursing home cost saved so the ones you have gifted to are safe for paying your bills.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #24
#17 You confused me, are you basically saying that a nursing home cannot come back on say the children of a parent that goes into a nursing home, if the parent never gifted anything to the child.  It would make more sense to me that a nursing home goes after the estate of the person that went into the home, or even gifts given.  I didn't understand how a child of a parent could somehow become liable for someone who is not their dependant, just because they have some money saved.
me1004   |     |   Comment #18
Lou, you were putting out the question about how much a surviving spouse would have left to live on if the first spouse required longterm care for an extended period. Well, once on Medicaid, Medicaid will pay for the longterm care. When there is a spouse, the spouse may keep something like $110,000 and Medicaid kicks in. I'm not positive, but I think they also can keep any home they might own. Of course, they would still have any income that comes in, such as Social Security, maybe a pension, other.

This info I picked up from an article some time back in AARP magazine.

Infory: You were asking when to buy. I'm no expert on that, but it is my understanding that if you don't buy by maybe your early 60s, they will not sell it to you. That means you might very well be paying for it for 20-30 years before you need to use it -- whether you ever need to use it or not. It ain't cheap, and in the end, it might cost you way more than you ever get in benefits. It kind of depends on whether you need it sooner or later. Depending on when you need it or if you need it, you might be a lot poorer for having bought it rather than put that same money in a bank account reserved for longterm care --maybe in one of those tax-benefitted health care accounts. Hey, its a gamble either way -- there's no right answer for it. And as one poster pointed out, your insurer might even go under, say after you have been paying in for 20 years and maybe just a year or two before you need it! 

In the end, I fear what is not being talked about. I fear it will hardly matter, as there is no possibility whatsoever that we can possibly have enough nurses and doctors in place for the baby boomers in their old age. People will be dying left and right for lack of proper medical personnel. I've read up on this, and even if we fully recognized the situation and went full steam ahead on it, it takes so long to do the training or a nurse to become university teaching grade that there is no possibility of having enough teachers, much less students, for more than 20 years or longer. That is, the nursing homes aren't even going to have nurses, and so they won't even have spaces to admit you -- well, unless you are part of the 1%. Well, maybe the 5%. And a policy paying $200 a day ain't going to do it under circumstances like that as such demand will make the housing bubble look like child's play. And policymakers have not confronted this, so nothing is being done even though we would need at least 20 years to even start making gains on it. 
lou   |     |   Comment #19
I agree Me1004 - there are pro and cons to making this decision. It is not a slam dunk either way. i carefuly weighed all the advantages and disadvantages and decided to purchase a policy, although I would understand it if another person chose not to.

Your example of being allowed to keep only $110,000, home and SS would be unacceptable to me. It would not be nearly enough for me or my wife to live, particularly if one of us outlives the other for many years. One mistake you made in your calculations is that if you are covered now for $200 a day, it will be the same in 20 years. In my case, the benefits increase at 5% compounded annually. In 20 years the benefit should be $530 a day. I also like that the policy covers home health care, an option which would be certainly preferable to a nursing home.

Of course, you're right the future is unknowable - anything can happen. But like health, homeowners or personal liability insurance, I purchase insurance to protect me from exigencies that could wipe me out. I don't mind losing a modicum amount of money; I am just trying to avoid situations where we are talking millions of dollars.
lou   |     |   Comment #20
One last thing: I don't think self-funding your long term care by depositing the premiums in a bank account can compare to purchasing a good long term care policy. Let's take a look at the numbers. If I took the premiums of $3,650 a year for 20 years and deposited it in a bank acount, the total without interest would be $73,000. If you assume that it earns maybe 3% annually, the total is $98,000. OTOH, a policy today that covers $200 a day for 4 years for both my wife and myself and grows at 5% compounded annually would be worth $1,547,600 in 20 years. Self-funding would hardly replicate insurance in this instance.
Inforay   |     |   Comment #21
Thank you very much for the comments, Lou and me1004.  I will look into this and appreciate the information.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #23
Your right anonymous #17... long time ago it was three years, now its 5 years, watch the govenment will change that to 10 years
greg   |     |   Comment #25
Most of the comments on this issue are "shooting blanks".  Much more info was required to even begin to make a serious, fact based opinion from the few facts that were given in this article - let alone any judgment call for most states.  I'm as cynical as the next guy about our gov't. and their marxist/socialistic agendas to raid any and all 401K's or savings plans, but the author of this articile should be working for MSNBC, CNN or NBC!  Get your facts down before posting an article such as this!    
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #26
Not long ago, this country was strong and prosperous. After the community organizer took over, everything is changing to social this social that, spread the cost, tax one person to pay for the other and so on, even Bernanke said:
There have been interesting developments in the field of the measurement of economic well-being. He cited the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan's Gross National Happiness index, which incorporates indicators such as level of education and time spent in leisure activities, more conventional economic measurements that bear on the quality of life include income distribution, upward mobility, job security, and buffers households have to protect against financial shocks, he said.

In other words, if you are happy, stop complaining about lack of money or there off, you are already well of and this has become a useful in measuring economic progress or setbacks as well as explaining economic decision making or projecting future economic outcomes, he said.

All these shared responsibilities comes from the top, which is another hidden tax on the middle class and will become law by presidential order if the present president gets re-elected.
We may be ordered, like in Japan, that we must care for our parents at all times and at all costs.
Anonymous #13
Anonymous #13   |     |   Comment #27
#26   Your post makes absolutely no sense. I don't know why Sheryl is unfortunate enough to keep attracting these kinds of posts, but I doubt if anyone can figure out what you're tryiing to get at.
rifslaw   |     |   Comment #28
Here is a link to the decision (which quotes the statute at issue):

Truthseeker   |     |   Comment #29
Doctors, hospitals and medical hangers-on and almost as greedy as Wall Street banksters. For liability for a parent's debt to be a fair exercise of public power, the law would also need to give children veto power over what parents do with their money. As it is, a parent has the full right to disinherit any child he wants, so liability, beyond the estate left behind, is ridiculous. A parent can fritter away assets for many reasons. For example, an over-****ed mid 60s father, for example, who gets involved with a much-younger woman after the death of his first wife. That woman can drain his money away very fast. But, there is a simple answer who don't want to be bankrupted by ancient and stupid laws.

If it looks like your parents are going to go into a long-term care that could bankrupt you, move to a state where inter-familial debt collection is against public policy. If you and/or your parents live in Florida, for example, you won't be liable, even if a state like Pennsylvania gets a judgment against you. But, since you will be a resident of Florida, so long as you move all your assets out of PA, the judgment would have to be collected aganst you in the Florida courts. You can bring a declaratory judgment action, requesting the Florida court determine your liability. Since such debt liability is against Florida public policy, the debt would be unenforceable.

That said, your parents' debt will always act as an offset to any inheritance. All debts during life must be paid, in the end, by the estate, no matter where you live, and that is right and proper.
me1004   |     |   Comment #30
Rifslaw, thanks for the link to the Pennsylvania case. 

Before I make any comments, let me note, I am NOT a lawyer, and I am not intending this to be legal advice or counsel. This is simply how I read it. My background is such that I have read a LOT of appellate cases so have some level of understanding and following of them, but that doesn't make me a lawyer.

First, I will note, that case did NOT challenge the constitutionality or other legality of the Pennsylvania statute, and the decision did not rule on such point. It was more procedural and oriented to burden of proof.

The PA law makes a spouse, a child, or a parent of an  INDIGENT person responsible to "maintain or financially assist an indigent person, regardless of whether the indigent person is a public charge." That covers a LOT more than medical care! But the circumstances of this case were a nursing home bill. The end court award was $92,943. The mother had been in the nursing home for six months, and then left and went to Greece. (I have no idea why the bill wasn't getting paid month by month, or Medicaid being sought to cover it!)

So, mind you,  this does not kick in until the parent is "indigent." But I note, the court ruling specifically makes it clear that "indigent" under this law is not necessarily as low a level as needed for Medicaid. It said:

"the indigent person need not be helpless and in extreme want, so completely destitute of property, as to require assistance from the public. Indigent persons are those who do not have sufficient means to pay for their own care and maintenance."

Also, in this case, the mother apparently did not have Medicaid, apparently was only in the process during this case of applying for it to cover the bill -- the ruling never said Medicaid, merely said "claim for medical assistance," but my guess is that is Medicaid. The court ruled that that did not justify delaying the case pending the application for medical assistance. It noted that if the mother won her claim for medical assistance, the son could use that to relieve his liability. 

MY NON-LAWYER INTERPRETATION: I read that to mean that if Medicaid kicks in, the son doesn't have to pay! I read this case to mean that the only time the son would be stuck would be for the gap between the qualification level to get Medicaid and the level that the court decides constitutes indigent -- which this case is completely vague about. 

So, perhaps the real issue here is that the financial level to qualify for Medicaid is too low?

I also note, the circumstances here are that one son was singled out togo after. He challenged that the husband should be a party to it, that his siblings also should be. The court said that was not required, but he could have taken action at trial court to force them into the case. I just find it surprising that the nursing home singled out only the one son for this case. There is not indication about why. 
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #31
To the poster who calls himself Anonymous #13,

Stop being devils advocate, if you spend more time analyzing the posts, there will be no need to criticize anyone. They all make perfect sense to me and are very clear what they are trying to say.
Anonymous #13
Anonymous #13   |     |   Comment #33
#31: By definition, I can't be a devil's advocate because I haven't taken a position for the sake of argument in either of my previous posts. #12 seemed to believe that there's a connection between filial responsibility and communism. I'd really like to hear more about that. Moreover, if you can derive some meaning from the schizophrenic commentary submitted by #26 then, by all means, enlighten me. But, know this: Besides some valuable exchanges, there are a number of posters who are using this forum as a vehivcle for baying at the moon. That's their privilege, but don't criticise me for singling out their peculiarities. This is an open forum and, by posting in it, they become fair game.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #32
To me1004 - #30,
I think his mother did not qualify for the benefits because she was illegally in the country.
Medicaid denied the claim because when his mother arrived in USA, he guaranteed for her safety and well being  when she got temporary entry visa, but he never proceeded to finalize the emigration paper work. Her status was in limbo and that is why she skipped the country.
Smokeboat   |     |   Comment #34
Communism functions on confiscation of wealth....may apply here.
Anonymous #13
Anonymous #13   |     |   Comment #35
"Confiscation" means a seizure of property by the government. Filial responsibility laws require property to be paid to a child's parents. Not the same thing. Think of it this way: The legislature may compel a husband to pay alimony to his ex-wife. That doesn't mean the government is benefitting from the transaction. Moreover, filial rsponsibility laws have been a feature of the English legal system since the 1400s. This concept was, at one time, adopted by 45 states. Now it's down to 30. So, I don't think communism relates to what's going on here.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #36

Anonymous   |     |   Comment #37
Maybe people should read the court document... rather than speculate about whether the mother was an immigrant or not or a deadbeat or not... because it makes no difference to the case...

Basically, the judgment reads that the mother needed care after an auto accident.  Her existing individual income ($1000.00) was insufficient to cover her care, even though she has (or had) a husband and three grown children, and she was also applying for medical assistance (Medicaid).  The court declared her "indigent" as per common law definition, therefore the children are obligated under
state filial responsibility law to make up the difference.  The appellant (the son) after claiming he had "other bills" and that the care center (HCR) "didn't do enough to determine her income" when he entered her into care had his claims struck down due to lack of credibility.  It was determined by the court that the son WAS financially able to support his mother, especially since he was just able to pay off a tax lein (using $1,100 monthly payments).

Basically, the son put his mother in care with the idea of her getting on public assistance.  Now he's crying because he's got a bill...

The person who wrote this article is very sloppy on details...

"The case involved a woman who moved to Greece without settling her more than $90,000 nursing home bill."

INCORRECT.. the idea that she moved anywhere has no bearing on the case.  This case involved a person's care bill after her son placed her into that care.

"It ruled that a child capable of paying their parent's healthcare bills is required to pay them."

INCORRECT... it was existing Pennsylvania law that all parties should have been aware of... the court made no distinction, it simply followed the law.

"The court found that her son was liable for her nursing home bill."

CORRECT.. because he placed her there in the first place and signed her care over to them.
me1004   |     |   Comment #41
#37 -- you are mistaken when you say:

"The court found that her son was liable for her nursing home bill."

CORRECT.. because he placed her there in the first place and signed her care over to them.

In fact, the court did not rule he was liable because he had put her in the nursing home. The court ruled that under the Pennsylvania law he was liable because he was her son. The court even pointed out that the son could have brought the other siblings and the husband into the case to share the liability.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #38
Anonymous #13 (anonymous) - #33,  you wrote:
“This is an open forum and, by posting in it, they become fair game.”
And that’s why they called you the “Devil’s advocate”, it is fair game for them too.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #39
To Anonymous - #37, as you were saying and following is your reasoning:

{"The court found that her son was liable for her nursing home bill."

CORRECT.. because he placed her there in the first place and signed her care over to them.}

I disagree, it is circumstantial evidence. If she called the nursing home by herself and never mentioned her son, there would have been no case.
You are pre-judging a factual connection between a mother and a son as though it was contractual pre-existing arrangement.
What the son should have done is to make an agreement with the nursing home that his is not responsible in any way for his mother financially and he would have been of the hook.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #40
#39 The logic you're using is a prime example of the sort of thinking that gets students flunked out of law school. Specifically, going off on tangents rather than sticking to the clear intent of a statute. The Pennsylvania statute clearly required the son in this case to care for his mother. Period. There's nothing in the statute that absolves that responsibility other than on the grounds of indigence. #37 went over that for you in great detail, yet you're still not getting it. The only fact that matters is that the indigent mother ran up a nursing home bill and couldn't pay it. So, under the state filial responsibility law, her son was legally obligated to pay it for her. Got that? It is irrelevant whether he placed her in the home or she did so herself. Moreover, there's nothing in the statute about escaping filial liability by concocting some contractual escape clause. None of this is especially difficult so, next time, try to consider the views of posters like #37 before you start posting poorly reasoned rebuttals.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #42
what if youhae a parent an dhave no relationship. What if your parent is a loser and doesn't save and plan ahead?!

Long Term Care Insuranc eis a rip off--before you buy it you had better actually read when it kicks in--which is never--and the premiums can quaudrupile --over years--it is a flase sense of security--you better save
me1004   |     |   Comment #43
#42, the Pennsylvania law addresses such circumstances, exempting only if the parent abandoned the child for a least 10 years while the child was still a minor and never returned. (So, if the parent didn't abandon until you were 9 years old, you're out of luck.)

"(ii) A child shall not be liable for the support of a parent who abandoned the child and persisted in the

abandonment for a period of ten years during the child's minority."
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #44
To me1004 - #43,

So, what you are saying is that Pennsylvania law enslaves the son(s) in a case like nursing home and holds them liable forever for every expense his parents are incurring while there.

It makes no sense, to destroy someone financially is unconstitutional and I believe there must be some exemptions, sub statutes or other laws that will stop the punch of that obnoxious law.

What if the son is penniless, should he needs financial assistance from the state, will he get it, would he be exempt or would this law still apply, what if he owns his house free and clear but has no other money, will the state make him homeless?

There are many questions popping up regarding this law and I believe you are not telling the truth.
me1004   |     |   Comment #45
I'm not saying it, I'm just telling you what that law says. I QUOTED you what thee ruling said -- how is that lying?! Go read that ruling at the link posted above -- and you will see it also depends on whether the son can afford it. Also, it acts in reverse, as a parent has to pay for a son, a son for a parent.

As I said above, this case did NOT challenge the Constitutionality or other legality of the law.
Anonymous #40
Anonymous #40   |     |   Comment #46
me1004   With respect, I believe you have reached a point of diminishing returns so far as trying to explain this statute.  There's very little anyone can do when confronted by someone whose guiding premise is that a statute cannot mean what it expressly states. Some people simply have no notion of how laws operate. Thanks for a valliant effort.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #47
Jujst an FYI--beware of Long Term Care policies--read them and read them again---they aint what they seem--they are are a false sense of security--in my opnion---be careful----
Fred Sanford
Fred Sanford   |     |   Comment #48
 Interesting how no one ever questions the exhorbatant Nursing Home bills.  Scam.

 Must be all the caviar served at breakfast.

me1004   |     |   Comment #49
#48: yes. Especially considering the "nurses" you get there nowadays aren't even nurses! They are simply much lower trained Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), which are NOT nurses, and are paid on average $10 to $10.50 an hour. Tell me how that kind of pay rate comes to over $90,000 is six months!
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #50
To me1004 - #45,
So there is a sub statute that says “it also depends on whether the son can afford it”.
You Sir are manipulator and panic setter. And I also believe that there are other sub statutes in different parts of the law that exempts the son or the parents depending on many other factors.

The attorney in this case was not competent to defend the son and can be sued back for malpractice. I believe the son has option not to pay the full amount and sue on the bases of unlawful enrichment by the nursing home.
me1004   |     |   Comment #51
#50: Look, some people just like to throw around libel -- such as you. That is NOT my interpretation -- it is what the court wrote in the ruling, as I clearly said. I told you to go look at the ruling -- and you should do so before you start making baseless accusations. 
pearlbrown   |     |   Comment #52
An article by Penn State University / Dickinson School of Law / Professor of Law Katherine C. Pearson will be published by the Elder Law Journal at the University of Illinois School of Law this Fall.   It discusses modern developments in filial support laws that purport to obligate adult children to provide financial assistance to their indigent or needy parents financially. 

It's interesting reading, and the table of filial support statutes in the US, which starts on page 29 of the document, is informative. 

Abstract of the article   The entire article is available as a PDF from the site as well. 
me1004   |     |   Comment #53
Good item, Pearlblossom. And I quote from it:

"In addition, the author analyzes a potentially disturbing trend emerging in at least two U.S. states, most significantly Pennsylvania, where filial support laws are now a primary collection tool for nursing homes, with decisions against adult children running to thousands of dollars in retroactive “support.” "
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #55
My question to all of you geniuses out there, why do some state act as collection agents for the nursing homes, but let millions on welfare and medicaid and even food stamps with fraudulent applications to pass the means tests?
JJ   |     |   Comment #56
This isn't a bad trend.  Why should I have to pay for all these aging baby boomers.  Let their own kids pay.  There should be no government intervention via medicaid.  Medicaid is socialism.  Don't want to pay for it, then don't put your parents in a nursing home.

Tea Party needs to TAKE OVER. 
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #57
Pennsylvania law can make you guilty by association and clean your bank account if your parent(s) wind up in a nursing home, but they let you be on welfare and medicaid for free.
****ed up system, many will suffer because of such spread the wealth statutes.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #58
The Pennsylvania statute is an old one that reflects what life was like when people lived in extended family groups that took care of their elders. That was way before the social security "safety net", medicaide and other state-sponsored elder support programs were enacted. Nowadays, the idea is to get the kids out of the house and not to have to rely on them for support. This is reflected in the fact that 15 states have repealed their filial support laws. I don't doubt the the nursing home industry is a driving force in keeping filial support laws in effect. However, they perform an important service and, hence, deserve to be paid. So, given a choice, I'd rather have the patients' kids pick up the tab than see the taxpayers burdened with it. Sorry kids.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #59
#58, you wrote:
“The Pennsylvania statute is an old one...”
So is the English common law and nowhere is stated such association between a nursing home the state and the individual right to be free with liberty and pursuit of happiness.
Why a state is protecting a nursing home?
What will come next, a hospital bill to be paid by the siblings because a statute says so.
How about food and board ‘till death do us part is a new state requirement, where do you draw the line?
Be careful what you wish for, the states are broke and ready to pass such laws and will destroy our live style as we know it.
me1004   |     |   Comment #60
#58: If you read the Pennsylvania statute, it already covers all those things you mention -- as I noted above. However, it is not the state enforcing it in this case. The nursing home is enforcing it, has filed a lawsuit on the basis of that statute. ANY creditor can do the same. But it is NOT the state filing the lawsuit in this case, it is the nursing home that sued.

Yes, that law also covers the hospital bills, and yes it also covers room and board. As I said above, the Pennsylvania law is not limited to nursing home bills, is for any maintenance or financial assistance required:

The PA law makes a spouse, a child, or a parent of an INDIGENT person responsible to "maintain or financially assist an indigent person, regardless of whether the indigent person is a public charge." That covers a LOT more than medical care!

While this case is the nursing home using that law to sue for payment, I expect the state could do so on behalf of the indigent person as well -- but that has not happened so far. 
rosie43   |     |   Comment #63
Click on your state in the above link to find out what the Medicaid laws for nursing home care and Medicaid are in your state. The 5 year look back requirement is in effect for all states. Michigan was the last state to require it. The responsibility also comes into play with the addmittance papers and who signs them. Many nursing homes will not admit without a signature. The papers signed must state the responsible party to make someone  responsible. Medicaid will not kick in until all of the documented information on the 5 year look back period has been furnished. All information must be furnished under penalty of the law.
Melanie   |     |   Comment #64
I have had both my parents in nursing homes. I know of no nursing home that children can drop them off at. Both entered after hospital stay from a stroke. My father never recovered, and died before the 90 day window of Medicare expired. My mother was admitted 2 years later in the same manner after a stroke. She fought her way back from basically being a noodle, and lived for 8 years needing round the clock care. She believed for years she would go home. I soon ran out of Dad's insurance money, and began the buy down. After that was completed, she went on to Medicaid. My dad's pension went towards monthly bill. My husband and I bought a long-term care policy after my father died. I pay it once a year and kiss the bill as I mail it back. Going daily for 10yrs to care for my parents was awful. I pray am never that burden to my children and am trying to put things in place. I was very naive about nursing homes. I keep saying I need to write a book after spending as much time there almost as my parents did. It is not the Ritz. They allowed $3.00 a day for their 3 meals a day. You can imagine the food! I can't imagine what is ahead for our children when they don't have Medicare/Aid.
roseharrington   |     |   Comment #67
The cost of long term care is rising nowadays, the reason why you should encourage your parents to get coverage especially if you are residing in Pennsylvania. The cost of ltc is really expensive, it would cost you about $41,000 for a year of stay in an assisted living facility. Without coverage, it would be hard for your parents to cover their long term care expenses and they might ask financial help from you. If you want to avoid this, then you should persuade your aging parents to plan for long term care. Refer below for the reliable resources you can use.
paoli2   |     |   Comment #68
I think children should have to pay for their parents nursing home bills when EVERY state in the US allows people to make their own decision when they are ready to die.  No elderly person should be forced to spend what's left of their lives in a so called "nursing" home and have to bankrupt their own children to do so, if they would rather put an end to their existence.  Unless you have actually spent time in one, how can anyone want to jail any parent in a nursing home?  It would be ok if it could actually extend their lives but to have to die under these conditions, IS going to Hell even if you lived the life of a saint!  I just remembered the word.  It's called "Euthanasia"!  Anyone for a Petition! :)
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #69's coming whether you want it or not.
John Peter
John Peter   |     |   Comment #70
First of all Thanks for your wonderful post about Ohio nursing home lawyer

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