My father recently passed away and my mother (also suffering from medical issues) has been left in a depleted financial state. We don't know how much they actually owe in medical bills and what we can do to reduce that debt.

My father recently passed away and my mother (also suffering from medical issues) has been left in a depleted financial state. We don't know how much they actually owe in medical bills and what we can do to reduce that debt.
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How can we unearth all their obligations and start reducing them?

My father passed away and as a result of that my mother and I discovered how bad their finances really were. My mother has had a lot of medical problems over the years and as a result of that she is on disability. My father was employed with a company where he was salaried and he was the one that was contributing the bulk of the money to the household seeing as how my mothers social security check was only $982 a month.

My father over the last few years had been battling a lot of medical problems and as a result he was in and out of the hospital and skilled nursing homes. Because my father was salaried he was still collecting a check from his employer but it was only a fraction of what he would have been getting if he was actually working full time. As a result of not getting his full pay from work he started to ignore the bills that were coming in and he paid the bills that he needed to so that our family could survive. My mother was not really aware of the fact that my dad had gone through all the savings and that he was so behind on all of the finances so this has been a huge blow to her especially when we are trying to come to terms with his death.

We have been able to go through a lot of the paperwork and have been able to get a lot of my dads debt immediately discharged because his estate is insolvent but we don’t know where to begin with my mother. We have discovered that some of the bills have been sent to collections while some of them are still being held by various doctors offices. Overall we have a very incomplete picture of what she actually owes and we don’t know where to begin to find out all of her bills. We are also running into problems with the fact that some of the doctors said that she could qualify for reduced payments of the bills but she has to send in pay stubs for 3 months prior to the date of service along with the income of other members of her household. This is a huge problem for us because during some of these dates my father was collecting a full paycheck but that really doesn’t matter now because my mother barley has enough money to cover her bills with her social security disability check and my fathers survivor benefits.


I am sorry to hear what a difficult time your family has experienced.  At this point I would recommend listing all of the bills and separating them by medical provider.  Contact the providers, not the collection agencies, and discuss the bills with them.  Send the providers whatever paperwork they request to prove your financial status.  Most providers will work with you, to the point that many, might, either write off the bill, or allow you to pay a small amount monthly.  I hope that you have success when discussing the bills with the individual medical providers.

Please feel free to contact me,

Best regards,

Adria Goldman Gross
MedWise Insurance Advocacy, Division of MedWise Billing, Inc.
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I am so sorry to hear about your family's losses. In addition to my colleague's advice, you could also look for several other resources in your area. Until this situation happens to you, many people do not realize that these services are out there. You and your family might be candidates for case management services. Here are some places to begin your research.

United Way helps administer a national telephone number called 2-1-1 for information and referral. Use this link to see if this one stop service ( is available in your parents' town. The service connects people to important community services. Ask for Senior Financial Assistance or Medical Insurance Help for Elders. Some of these services may be offered without charge.

This site could be helpful: Benefits with your parents Zipcode, you can learn about benefits available in your area, including food, RX and medicine assistance.

Your mother or father's health facility may have a medical social worker that can help as well-have you asked about one?

Another professional that could be helpful is a geriatric care manager. Find one in your area by visiting for the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers.

You must be tired and full of uncertainty and I apologize for offering more more research work, but there is help out there!


I understand how frustrating this all can be.
Each hospital has their own financial guidelines for financial assistance and/or charity care program and it should be based on your mom’s current income and household members. You can normally find the guidelines on the hospitals website.
Negotiating the balances is another option.
You can order itemized statements and go line by line looking for errors and services not paid by insurance and appealing those items with the insurance company.
You might also consider reaching out to a medical bill advocate to assist you in reviewing all the medical bills for you. Medical bill advocates normally work on a contingency basis (25-35%) of what they save you and only if they save you money. You have nothing to lose by reaching out to an advocate.
If you need assistance, please reach out.
Cheryl Welch, MBA
Hudson Valley Medical Bill Advocates


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