An elderly Pennsylvania husband and wife are being asked to pay their deceased adult son's medical bills under a law making f...Read more
Adult Children Could Be on Hook for Parents' Nursing Home Bills
- April 29th, 2013
The adult children of elderly parents in many states could be held liable for their parents' nursing home bills as a result of the new Medicaid long-term care provisions contained in a law enacted in February 2006. The children could even be subject to criminal penalties.
The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 includes punitive new restrictions on the ability of the elderly to transfer assets before qualifying for Medicaid coverage of nursing home care. Essentially, the law attempts to save the Medicaid program money by shifting more of the cost of long-term care to families and nursing homes.
Local Elder Law Attorneys in Ashburn, VA
The Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C.
In practice since 1987, Fairfax Attorney Evan Farr is widely recognized as one of the leading Elder Law, Estate Planning, and Specials Needs attorneys in Virginia and one of foremost experts in the Country in the field of Medicaid Asset Protection and related Trusts. Evan Farr has been quoted or cited as an expert by n...
Ron M. Landsman, P.A.
Ron M. Landsman has been practicing elder law since 1983, before it was known as elder law, originally with Landsman and Laster, Washington, D.C., then Landsman, Eakes and Laster, also in Arlington, VA, and since 1990 in his own practice in Montgomery County, Maryland. He has been among the most active members of the...
Hale Ball Carlson Baumgartner Murphy PLC
Attorney Samantha Simmons Fredieu is an associate at Hale Ball. Ms. Fredieu graduated magna cum laude from Vermont Law School where she was the symposium editor on the Vermont Law Review, a production editor on the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law, and a member of the Moot Court Advisory Board. She has clerked for...
One of the major ways it does this is by changing the start of the penalty period for transferred assets from the date of transfer, to the date when the individual would qualify for Medicaid coverage of nursing home care if not for the transfer. In other words, the penalty period does not begin until the nursing home resident is out of funds, meaning there is no money to pay the nursing home for however long the penalty period lasts. (For the details, click here.)
With enactment of the law, advocates for the elderly predict that nursing homes will likely be flooded with residents who need care but have no way to pay for it. In states that have so-called "filial responsibility laws," the nursing homes may seek reimbursement from the residents' children. These rarely-enforced laws, which are on the books in 29 states (the figure was 30 but Connecticut's statute has since been repealed), hold adult children responsible for financial support of indigent parents and, in some cases, medical and nursing home costs.
For example ,Pennsylvania recently re-enacted its law making children liable for the financial support of their indigent parents. Jeffrey A. Marshall, an ElderLawAnswers member attorney in Williamsport, Pa., says the new Medicaid law could trigger a wave of lawsuits involving adult children.
"Litigation between nursing homes and children is likely to flourish," Marshall writes in the Jan. 20, 2006, issue of his firm's Elder Care Law Alert. "Nursing homes will sue children who will counter-sue for sub-standard care."
According to the National Center for Policy Analysis, 21 states allow a civil court action to obtain financial support or cost recovery, 12 states impose criminal penalties for filial nonsupport, and three states allow both civil and criminal actions.
For a discussion of filial responsibility laws in the New York Times's "New Old Age" blog, click here.
Last Modified: 04/29/2013