Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

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shorty313
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Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by shorty313 »

MIL passed in July of 2018. We have been managing finances for FIL since then and he brought us a bill in her name from her hospital discharge day, when she went to hospice.

It’s not an enormous amount, but FIL is on a fixed income. Is he responsible for her medical debt? Especially so long after her death? He was the beneficiary of her estate. There is one random bank account that after repeated requests to the bank has STILL not removed her name from the account, so is that an issue?

No Medicaid, and we are located in NJ. I can’t seem to find info on statue of limitations, if any. I also can’t verify the accuracy of the charge since it was so long ago. Do I call and tell them she passed and see what they say? Pay it? Just ignore it? Thanks for any insight!
Seasonal
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by Seasonal »

This suggests they creditors have nine months from death to present a claim: https://law.justia.com/codes/new-jersey ... on-3b-22-4
Blake7
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by Blake7 »

Spouses are liable for each other’s debts generally, after that any outstanding debts come out of their estate. This is assuming the debt is legit and payable and cannot be negotiated away.
260chrisb
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by 260chrisb »

If it's not an enormous amount and it's legitimate why wouldn't you just pay it and move on?
BarbBrooklyn
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by BarbBrooklyn »

Blake7 wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:31 am Spouses are liable for each other’s debts generally
This NOT true in all states.
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OnTrack2020
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by OnTrack2020 »

From "googling," it looks like statute of limitations for medical debt in New Jersey is 6 years--but double check.

How much is the amount of the bill?

Was this bill submitted to insurance, by chance?
Mr. Rumples
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by Mr. Rumples »

Check the laws in your state. In VA, the cut off is two years when the person dies:

https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/tit ... on6.2-611/

Also, check to see if the executor did the notifications of death in accordance with state law. Googling "virginia hospital bill received 2 years after death" gave the results for VA, try PA instead.

Unfortunately, in PA there have been several cases of filial responsibility law being enforced, and though this isn't the case here, they could come after the OP. One can ask https://www.elderlawanswers.com
Last edited by Mr. Rumples on Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:59 am, edited 6 times in total.
Blake7
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by Blake7 »

BarbBrooklyn wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:41 am
Blake7 wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:31 am Spouses are liable for each other’s debts generally
This NOT true in all states.
Hence the word “generally.” There other situations where the spouse may not be liable as well.

Edit: I missed the OP is in NJ, which is not a community property state, in which case the spouse may not be liable.
Last edited by Blake7 on Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
Topic Author
shorty313
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by shorty313 »

OnTrack2020 wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:42 am From "googling," it looks like statute of limitations for medical debt in New Jersey is 6 years--but double check.

How much is the amount of the bill?

Was this bill submitted to insurance, by chance?
The bill says it was submitted to Aetna in July 2020 and came back Not Eligible status, so nothing paid. Presumably because she is deceased and not in Aetnas system anymore.

The bill is under $1k.

I can’t seem to find anything definitive in my googling either for statute of limitations.
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shorty313
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by shorty313 »

260chrisb wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:39 am If it's not an enormous amount and it's legitimate why wouldn't you just pay it and move on?
My father in law has been in the hospital a few times since then and his bill has never been more than $25 due to insurance/Medicare. This was deemed Not Eligible for insurance.

The charge just says “hospital discharge day” so presumably it was the cost of her just waiting around for transport to hospice. I don’t have a way of verifying accuracy.
Viking65
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by Viking65 »

You could reply and inform them that MIL died 2 years previously and request that they write off the amount. I had success with this strategy, albeit with smaller amounts involved, with late bills arriving for my mother after her death (many months, not years).
If they refuse, then you can work the statute of limitations angle, if that is relevant in your state.
Good Luck.
Mako
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by Mako »

shorty313 wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:55 am The bill says it was submitted to Aetna in July 2020 and came back Not Eligible status, so nothing paid. Presumably because she is deceased and not in Aetnas system anymore.

The bill is under $1k.

I can’t seem to find anything definitive in my googling either for statute of limitations.
For my insurance if the provider waits over a year to submit a bill to insurance they are out of luck. Insurance won't pay and I don't have to pay either (assuming in network). So that's another angle to check, see if MILs insurance says anything about old bills.
Silk McCue
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by Silk McCue »

shorty313 wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:55 am
OnTrack2020 wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:42 am From "googling," it looks like statute of limitations for medical debt in New Jersey is 6 years--but double check.

How much is the amount of the bill?

Was this bill submitted to insurance, by chance?
The bill says it was submitted to Aetna in July 2020 and came back Not Eligible status, so nothing paid. Presumably because she is deceased and not in Aetnas system anymore.

The bill is under $1k.

I can’t seem to find anything definitive in my googling either for statute of limitations.
You didn't say if she was on Medicare at that time but if so I don't believe any charges should go unpaid by the insurance company if deductibles have been met. Regardless, if you push this up the chain at Aetna I believe you will have a good chance of correcting any clerical errors that resulted in a potentially incorrect denial.

Cheers
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shorty313
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by shorty313 »

Silk McCue wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:19 am
shorty313 wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:55 am
OnTrack2020 wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:42 am From "googling," it looks like statute of limitations for medical debt in New Jersey is 6 years--but double check.

How much is the amount of the bill?

Was this bill submitted to insurance, by chance?
The bill says it was submitted to Aetna in July 2020 and came back Not Eligible status, so nothing paid. Presumably because she is deceased and not in Aetnas system anymore.

The bill is under $1k.

I can’t seem to find anything definitive in my googling either for statute of limitations.
You didn't say if she was on Medicare at that time but if so I don't believe any charges should go unpaid by the insurance company if deductibles have been met. Regardless, if you push this up the chain at Aetna I believe you will have a good chance of correcting any clerical errors that resulted in a potentially incorrect denial.

Cheers
Yes she was on Medicare (she was 85) but I don’t know details about deductibles. I will have to see if I can find any files at their house that may give insight.
Silk McCue
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by Silk McCue »

shorty313 wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:21 am
Yes she was on Medicare (she was 85) but I don’t know details about deductibles. I will have to see if I can find any files at their house that may give insight.
If she had been in the hospital I am confident that she had already met her deductible for the year. This is highly likely a clerical error on the part of Aetna.

I wouldn't spend anytime trying to find out if her deductible had been met but rather with bill in hand call Aetna and make certain to document your contacts and conversations.

Sorry for this hassle for you.

Cheers
Gill
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by Gill »

Blake7 wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:31 am Spouses are liable for each other’s debts generally, after that any outstanding debts come out of their estate. This is assuming the debt is legit and payable and cannot be negotiated away.
This is not the law in most states.
Gill
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shorty313
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by shorty313 »

Silk McCue wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:25 am
shorty313 wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:21 am
Yes she was on Medicare (she was 85) but I don’t know details about deductibles. I will have to see if I can find any files at their house that may give insight.
If she had been in the hospital I am confident that she had already met her deductible for the year. This is highly likely a clerical error on the part of Aetna.

I wouldn't spend anytime trying to find out if her deductible had been met but rather with bill in hand call Aetna and make certain to document your contacts and conversations.

Sorry for this hassle for you.

Cheers
It was actually her second stay in the hospital for the same issue that year.

I was hoping this question was a yes or no answer. Not a “requires more work on our part” :P Hopefully Aetna will talk to me (I’m just the daughter in law).
mptfan
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by mptfan »

Blake7 wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:49 am
BarbBrooklyn wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:41 am
Blake7 wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:31 am Spouses are liable for each other’s debts generally
This NOT true in all states.
Hence the word “generally.” There other situations where the spouse may not be liable as well.
So would it be accurate to say that spouses are not liable for each other's debts generally?
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ResearchMed
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by ResearchMed »

shorty313 wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:55 am
OnTrack2020 wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:42 am From "googling," it looks like statute of limitations for medical debt in New Jersey is 6 years--but double check.

How much is the amount of the bill?

Was this bill submitted to insurance, by chance?
The bill says it was submitted to Aetna in July 2020 and came back Not Eligible status, so nothing paid. Presumably because she is deceased and not in Aetnas system anymore.

The bill is under $1k.

I can’t seem to find anything definitive in my googling either for statute of limitations.
Any idea why the hospital submitted the bill in 2020, if she was discharged to hospice, and passed, in 2018?

Also, and separately, how do hospitals (and other vendors/creditors) learn of someone's passing?
In some (many?) cases, those dealing with the estate may not know of all such debts.

RM
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mptfan
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by mptfan »

Mako wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:13 am For my insurance if the provider waits over a year to submit a bill to insurance they are out of luck. Insurance won't pay and I don't have to pay either (assuming in network).
I don't think the second part of that sentence is accurate, your obligation to pay the medical provider is independent of your insurance's obligation to pay.
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by vtMaps »

My (very limited) understanding of the law is that if MIL's estate is out of probate, the debt cannot be enforced.

Also, the bill was addressed to the MIL. Just write "deceased" on the envelope and return to sender.

--vtMaps
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shorty313
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by shorty313 »

ResearchMed wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:36 am
shorty313 wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:55 am
OnTrack2020 wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:42 am From "googling," it looks like statute of limitations for medical debt in New Jersey is 6 years--but double check.

How much is the amount of the bill?

Was this bill submitted to insurance, by chance?
The bill says it was submitted to Aetna in July 2020 and came back Not Eligible status, so nothing paid. Presumably because she is deceased and not in Aetnas system anymore.

The bill is under $1k.

I can’t seem to find anything definitive in my googling either for statute of limitations.
Any idea why the hospital submitted the bill in 2020, if she was discharged to hospice, and passed, in 2018?

Also, and separately, how do hospitals (and other vendors/creditors) learn of someone's passing?
In some (many?) cases, those dealing with the estate may not know of all such debts.

RM
I had no idea this bill existed until this week. I don’t know why they waited so long.

I have also wondered the same thing. She didn’t die at the hospital, so how would they know? I figured Aetna would tell them!
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by Blake7 »

Gill wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:33 am
Blake7 wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:31 am Spouses are liable for each other’s debts generally, after that any outstanding debts come out of their estate. This is assuming the debt is legit and payable and cannot be negotiated away.
This is not the law in most states.
Gill
I should have worded it better. About 9 states are community property. By population a good portion of the population. But lesson learned by me about throwing responses out too early in the morning without thinking them through a bit more. :o
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shorty313
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by shorty313 »

vtMaps wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:40 am My (very limited) understanding of the law is that if MIL's estate is out of probate, the debt cannot be enforced.

Also, the bill was addressed to the MIL. Just write "deceased" on the envelope and return to sender.

--vtMaps
This had been my initial understanding too, and how my husband wants to deal with it. Actually he thinks we can just ignore it. But I want to make sure this doesn't come back to bite FIL, or eventually my husband and his sister, in the butt.
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galawdawg
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by galawdawg »

Was your mother-in-laws estate probated in New Jersey? Who was the executor? Was an attorney involved? Whether the bill must be paid depends on how the estate was handled.
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by dknightd »

vtMaps wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:40 am
Also, the bill was addressed to the MIL. Just write "deceased" on the envelope and return to sender.

--vtMaps
That is what I'd do. Your FIL may, or may not, be on the hook for the bill. I think it does vary. I think I'm responsible for my spouse's medical bills, even after death. Let the hospital and insurance company work it out.
I would make one call to each. Likely they will say they can not provide you information due to privacy laws. Then you tell them MIL is dead, and FIL has no money to pay bill. Wish them good luck in collecting their <$1k bill.

Actually, this would probably be better dealt with by the actual child of the deceased mother.

If they reissue the bill to your FIL then figure what to do next.
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by AnEngineer »

mptfan wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:37 am
Mako wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:13 am For my insurance if the provider waits over a year to submit a bill to insurance they are out of luck. Insurance won't pay and I don't have to pay either (assuming in network).
I don't think the second part of that sentence is accurate, your obligation to pay the medical provider is independent of your insurance's obligation to pay.
The in network part is key, that means the provider agreed to follow the insurance's rule.
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by dknightd »

shorty313 wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:47 am

This had been my initial understanding too, and how my husband wants to deal with it. Actually he thinks we can just ignore it. But I want to make sure this doesn't come back to bite FIL, or eventually my husband and his sister, in the butt.
If I was in your shoes, I'd let husband and sister deal with it however they want. Even if they get bitten in the butt, it will be a small bite.
If you value a bird in the hand, pay off the loan. If you are willing to risk getting two birds (or none) from the market, invest the funds.
Seasonal
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by Seasonal »

galawdawg wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 8:01 am Was your mother-in-laws estate probated in New Jersey? Who was the executor? Was an attorney involved? Whether the bill must be paid depends on how the estate was handled.
That's not what the statute I cited in the first replay in this thread appears to say. Do you have a different reading?
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by livesoft »

I would use a big fat Sharpie and write diagonally across the bill "DECEASED JULY 2018" and send it back without payment, then see what happens next.
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shorty313
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by shorty313 »

galawdawg wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 8:01 am Was your mother-in-laws estate probated in New Jersey? Who was the executor? Was an attorney involved? Whether the bill must be paid depends on how the estate was handled.
Probated in NJ. FIL declined to be executor so husband was executor. No attorney.
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8foot7
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by 8foot7 »

livesoft wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 8:24 am I would use a big fat Sharpie and write diagonally across the bill "DECEASED JULY 2018" and send it back without payment, then see what happens next.
+1. I wouldn't waste a single minute calling anyone about this. Send a copy of the death certificate along with it. 0% chance anything comes of this for a $900 bill for a deceased person.
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by prairieman »

livesoft wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 8:24 am I would use a big fat Sharpie and write diagonally across the bill "DECEASED JULY 2018" and send it back without payment, then see what happens next.
This is, in effect, what we did in a similar situation and we never saw the bill again. However, we were fairly certain that it should have been an insurance claim and let them know that, too.
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by Mako »

mptfan wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:37 am
Mako wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:13 am For my insurance if the provider waits over a year to submit a bill to insurance they are out of luck. Insurance won't pay and I don't have to pay either (assuming in network).
I don't think the second part of that sentence is accurate, your obligation to pay the medical provider is independent of your insurance's obligation to pay.
But the in network provider's ability to hold me responsible is dependent on their contract with my insurance company. So it depends on the plans like I said.
runninginvestor
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by runninginvestor »

mptfan wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:37 am
Mako wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:13 am For my insurance if the provider waits over a year to submit a bill to insurance they are out of luck. Insurance won't pay and I don't have to pay either (assuming in network).
I don't think the second part of that sentence is accurate, your obligation to pay the medical provider is independent of your insurance's obligation to pay.
Not necessarily. I've read through several coverage documents that have language stating if it's in network, and if the provider has the responsibility to submit the claim but fail to do so under the contract, the patient isn't responsible.

OP, if you can still find the documents, look at the policy language to see how/if the insurance provider protected patients for in-network care. Assuming this was all in network.
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shorty313
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by shorty313 »

runninginvestor wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 8:57 am
mptfan wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:37 am
Mako wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:13 am For my insurance if the provider waits over a year to submit a bill to insurance they are out of luck. Insurance won't pay and I don't have to pay either (assuming in network).
I don't think the second part of that sentence is accurate, your obligation to pay the medical provider is independent of your insurance's obligation to pay.
Not necessarily. I've read through several coverage documents that have language stating if it's in network, and if the provider has the responsibility to submit the claim but fail to do so under the contract, the patient isn't responsible.

OP, if you can still find the documents, look at the policy language to see how/if the insurance provider protected patients for in-network care. Assuming this was all in network.
Definitely all in network.

But I'm inclined to mail it back as deceased as a first attempt. Then DH will have to deal with it.
BrooklynInvest
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by BrooklynInvest »

The complexity of our health system never fails to amaze me.

Sorry for your loss and troubles OP. Could it be that it would have been covered but somewhere along the line MIL was listed as deceased and the bill rejected out of hand. Have been burned so many times ($9,000 bill for the INSURED cost of having a baby!) that I question almost every non-trivial charge. The error rate is astronomical... not coincidentally.

Good luck.
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by Onlineid3089 »

shorty313 wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:02 am
260chrisb wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:39 am If it's not an enormous amount and it's legitimate why wouldn't you just pay it and move on?
My father in law has been in the hospital a few times since then and his bill has never been more than $25 due to insurance/Medicare. This was deemed Not Eligible for insurance.

The charge just says “hospital discharge day” so presumably it was the cost of her just waiting around for transport to hospice. I don’t have a way of verifying accuracy.
I'd be interested to see the EOB. I would have expected it to be denied due to timely filing and the box for patient responsibility should show 0. If that's the case send them a copy of the EOB and politely let them know their rev cycle issues aren't your problem.

If it was denied for some other reason I'd maybe have more questions, but first I'd probably just do as others have suggested and return with a note that the patient died two years ago.
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by galawdawg »

shorty313 wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 8:25 am
galawdawg wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 8:01 am Was your mother-in-laws estate probated in New Jersey? Who was the executor? Was an attorney involved? Whether the bill must be paid depends on how the estate was handled.
Probated in NJ. FIL declined to be executor so husband was executor. No attorney.
I am not admitted to practice in NJ. That being said, NJ law provides that creditors only have nine (9) months to make claims against an estate. However, it appears that after the nine (9) month period a creditor may have the ability to seek payment from heirs if the assets of the estate have been disbursed.

I would hesitate to recommend that your father-in-law pay this bill as it could just be the first of many bills relating to your mother-in-law's final illness, some of which may involve more significant amounts of money. A consultation with a NJ attorney who is experienced in estate work might be a wise investment of time and money.
quantAndHold
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by quantAndHold »

I would start with a call to the hospital billing office telling them that she died shortly after the service for this 2 year old bill was rendered, they had the opportunity to send the bill while probate was open and didn’t, 9 month limit, blah, blah, blah, so you don’t owe it. My experience with doing exactly that was that the billing office then tried to guilt me into paying it anyway, but when I stood firm, they backed down and I never heard from them again.

If it goes beyond that, I’d weight the cost of bill vs hiring a lawyer.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by Katietsu »

shorty313 wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 9:02 am
runninginvestor wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 8:57 am
mptfan wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:37 am
Mako wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:13 am For my insurance if the provider waits over a year to submit a bill to insurance they are out of luck. Insurance won't pay and I don't have to pay either (assuming in network).
I don't think the second part of that sentence is accurate, your obligation to pay the medical provider is independent of your insurance's obligation to pay.
Not necessarily. I've read through several coverage documents that have language stating if it's in network, and if the provider has the responsibility to submit the claim but fail to do so under the contract, the patient isn't responsible.

OP, if you can still find the documents, look at the policy language to see how/if the insurance provider protected patients for in-network care. Assuming this was all in network.
Definitely all in network.

But I'm inclined to mail it back as deceased as a first attempt. Then DH will have to deal with it.
I agree with this approach. Include her date of death when you send it back. Some of the other conversations might be more relevant if it had been less time since her passing or more money involved.
clip651
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by clip651 »

You mentioned hospice - my understanding is that hospice also interacts with medical billing and insurance issues during the month the patient is admitted to hospice.

I'm no expert, so I can't offer advice, but it is just another aspect of this that may be worth looking into if you want to determine who is really responsible for what with this bill. If you are speaking to the insurance company about this, consider mentioning the hospice aspect and see what they can tell you about that with billing issues.

best wishes,
cj
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by rich126 »

I don't know anything about the legal aspects but why 2 years later? Unless something was in litigation or some negotiating was going on, why should anyone accept a bill 2 years later? What if they send another one 3 yrs later?

Just seems like there has to be a complete listing of bills from the hospital and then that is it. This stuff of sending out bills years later makes no sense.
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shorty313
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by shorty313 »

rich126 wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 10:47 am I don't know anything about the legal aspects but why 2 years later? Unless something was in litigation or some negotiating was going on, why should anyone accept a bill 2 years later? What if they send another one 3 yrs later?

Just seems like there has to be a complete listing of bills from the hospital and then that is it. This stuff of sending out bills years later makes no sense.
Like I said, no idea! By the looks of the bill they didn’t even submit to insurance for 2 years. It’s not an old bill we ignored.
retiringwhen
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by retiringwhen »

shorty313 wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 10:49 am
rich126 wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 10:47 am I don't know anything about the legal aspects but why 2 years later? Unless something was in litigation or some negotiating was going on, why should anyone accept a bill 2 years later? What if they send another one 3 yrs later?

Just seems like there has to be a complete listing of bills from the hospital and then that is it. This stuff of sending out bills years later makes no sense.
Like I said, no idea! By the looks of the bill they didn’t even submit to insurance for 2 years. It’s not an old bill we ignored.
I am an Aetna subscriber in NJ. I had a similar issue a few years ago for me (not deceased!)

I got a huge bill for a routine (annual physical) blood test 2 years after the test was taken. It apparantly was submitted to Insurance at the time of the test, but for whatever reason, it was not approved and no follow-up was taken by them.

I called the biller told them, "no way am I paying a bill for a test I took 2 years before without a peep from you". The rep nicely said, "I will put a note to that effect in your file". That was the last I heard about it.

As an aside, the provider had correctly billed me for other deductibles/copays in the intervening two years, all of them promptly paid.

I would start with a call / letter stating the insured was deceased in 2018 and do nothing further for now.
They probably missed their deadline to submit to Aetna.
JackoC
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by JackoC »

galawdawg wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 9:22 am
shorty313 wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 8:25 am
galawdawg wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 8:01 am Was your mother-in-laws estate probated in New Jersey? Who was the executor? Was an attorney involved? Whether the bill must be paid depends on how the estate was handled.
Probated in NJ. FIL declined to be executor so husband was executor. No attorney.
I am not admitted to practice in NJ. That being said, NJ law provides that creditors only have nine (9) months to make claims against an estate. However, it appears that after the nine (9) month period a creditor may have the ability to seek payment from heirs if the assets of the estate have been disbursed.

I would hesitate to recommend that your father-in-law pay this bill as it could just be the first of many bills relating to your mother-in-law's final illness, some of which may involve more significant amounts of money. A consultation with a NJ attorney who is experienced in estate work might be a wise investment of time and money.
That sounds right to me, *after* sending back this first bill marked 'deceased' with copy of death certificate, *if* the medical provider doesn't give up. I don't see any downside in refusing to pay at first, nor much upside in paying a lawyer before it's clear the medical provider won't just drop it, or that there actually is anything past the first <$1k bill. But absolutely don't pay it right off the bat, I agree.
Cruise
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by Cruise »

Speak of the devil: Got a bill today from ophthalmologist for services rendered on 10/26/15! They spent 50 cents to recover $1.54.
Helo80
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by Helo80 »

Cruise wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 3:35 pm Speak of the devil: Got a bill today from ophthalmologist for services rendered on 10/26/15! They spent 50 cents to recover $1.54.

That's actually low enough that may be worth your time to troll them and have them re-verify the bill once or twice to generate more postage fees.
rich126
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by rich126 »

retiringwhen wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 11:14 am
shorty313 wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 10:49 am
rich126 wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 10:47 am I don't know anything about the legal aspects but why 2 years later? Unless something was in litigation or some negotiating was going on, why should anyone accept a bill 2 years later? What if they send another one 3 yrs later?

Just seems like there has to be a complete listing of bills from the hospital and then that is it. This stuff of sending out bills years later makes no sense.
Like I said, no idea! By the looks of the bill they didn’t even submit to insurance for 2 years. It’s not an old bill we ignored.
I am an Aetna subscriber in NJ. I had a similar issue a few years ago for me (not deceased!)

I got a huge bill for a routine (annual physical) blood test 2 years after the test was taken. It apparantly was submitted to Insurance at the time of the test, but for whatever reason, it was not approved and no follow-up was taken by them.

I called the biller told them, "no way am I paying a bill for a test I took 2 years before without a peep from you". The rep nicely said, "I will put a note to that effect in your file". That was the last I heard about it.

As an aside, the provider had correctly billed me for other deductibles/copays in the intervening two years, all of them promptly paid.

I would start with a call / letter stating the insured was deceased in 2018 and do nothing further for now.
They probably missed their deadline to submit to Aetna.
I had some dental surgery years ago. Then months later I got a letter from them and assumed it was a bill. Turned out I had overpaid and they sent me a check. That was a pleasant surprise.

I can understand a month or two but if the insurance company or the doctor's office can't figure it in a timely manner then whoever didn't do their job in a reasonable time should absorb the loss (probably the insurance company in most cases, just my guess).
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celia
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Re: Hospital bill for deceased parent...received 2 years later.

Post by celia »

mptfan wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:37 am
Mako wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:13 am For my insurance if the provider waits over a year to submit a bill to insurance they are out of luck. Insurance won't pay and I don't have to pay either (assuming in network).
I don't think the second part of that sentence is accurate, your obligation to pay the medical provider is independent of your insurance's obligation to pay.
You are only obligated to pay the amount that insuarance wouldn’t cover and insurance needs to be billed within 9 (or12???) months. Your response should now be that it wasn’t submitted to insurance in a timely manner. Since they are no longer liable, neither are you.

Either that, or it WAS submitted earlier and was already paid!
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