Article Series

One Family’s End of the Journey

Article submitted by a Son helping his Father in Texas and reprinted with permission. They wanted they story shared and they thanked Seniors Resource Guide

“Thank you for the awesome assistance you have provided and I've watched all the videos to become better informed. The following is a summary of what happened and of some of the major things I've learned so please pass on to others as you wish.”
– an Adult Son in Texas

Texas - The itemized bill for my dad was $299,056.44. My Dad's PPO paid $23,905.12 and we paid $1,170. I’m amazed that the itemized bill for 6 days was almost $300,000 and that 2 Lipitor Pills cost $102. I know that doctors and others deserve their pay but $300,000 appears too high.

I've also learned that the doctors can take a tax write off if the full amount is not paid. Initially we were told that we would be liable for 25% of the total cost. However, under emergency procedures the non-participating hospital has to abide by the insurance coverage of the PPO contracted rate. I've learned so many things from talking to at least 30 different people and so many people have told me the wrong things.

I've learned to talk to the case managers of the hospital and of the insurance and also the actual insurance agents to get the facts. I was totally unprepared for my dad's stroke and eventual death because it occurred so suddenly but I have set everything up for my mom so I wouldn't be unprepared next time.

What helped tremendously is that I had the Power of Attorney, the Medical Power of Attorney, and I was the Executor of the Will. Also, my mom's PPO dropped out at the end of the year and I've got her an HMO that has all her current doctors and it now would have the hospital that my dad was taken too. These are the major items I've learned:

  1. Get the Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney, and Executor of the Will.
    Please note that the Power of Attorney does not allow Cremation in Texas unless you specify so I had to fill out a special form for my mom for the future. Also, taking ashes out of the country requires a permit.
  2. Get a copy of all cards: Social Security, Medicare, Driver's License, etc.
  3. Get a copy of medications taken and allergies.
    I've also made a copy of instructions where to take my mom in the future is it happens to her. My mom was under shock so she didn't remember to tell the ambulance to take my dad to the participating hospital.
  4. Discuss life after death, person's wishes of how he/she wants to die.
    My dad was paralyzed on his right side, could not speak after the first surgery, and still had a lot of clots in his brain. My dad wanted to die at home if his quality of life was not going to be good, he wanted to be cremated, and he wanted his ashes spread in the place he was born. He also did not want a funeral but a home memorial party with family and close friends. I’m so glad I discussed this with him back in 2008 and I had a lot of peace within knowing that I was carrying out his wishes. It helped a lot when the surgeons wanted to do more operations and I told them "No" and called Vitas Innovative Hospice Care to help out. I had no idea Hospice was free and so many people in Hospice have such incredible compassion. I think the surgeons and the hospice workers need to work better and need to understand each other's mission better.
  5. Notify Social Security, all accounts of the person's death. Provide death certificate as needed.
  6. Transfer all titles to the living spouse before selling anything to anyone else.
  7. For my mom, I have set up all her accounts virtually on Internet.
    I am joint account owner on her checking and am the beneficiary of her annuity. All she has to do is just do grocery shopping. All bills and all income deposits are set up electronically and …
  8. Simplify life and its contents.
    I've spent 3 months cleaning the house, garage, attic, shed, books, etc, so that things would be simpler and more organized for my mom. We're close to getting it done. My dad had so much junk; but we were able to sell at least $1,000 in aluminum cans, copper #1, copper #2, brass, plumbing copper, tin, iron, etc and have also removed all old hazardous chemicals. I've sold for my mom 2 cars, she has one car left for her and we only have to sell one more truck. Then, we'll have a garage sale and hopefully by Summer of 2013 everything will be set up nicely so my mom can live simply in peace and enjoy her remaining life.

I could ramble some more but I think the above are the major things I've learned. Lastly, I've set everything up for my household so that we'll be prepared for that day when it's our turn to go.

Thanks and God Bless.

An Adult Son in Texas

Posted March 2013 on