Legal Responsibility for Adult Child's Medical Bills

This is a discussion on Legal Responsibility for Adult Child's Medical Bills within the Debt Collection forum, part of the BANKRUPTCY & DEBT COLLECTIONS category; I have an adult child (19) who does not live with me and lives with her mother (ex wife). While ...

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Old May 29th, 2008, 06:39 PM   #1
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Default Legal Responsibility for Adult Child's Medical Bills

I have an adult child (19) who does not live with me and lives with her mother (ex wife). While I was out of the country my daughter took some sleeping pills alledgedly attempting suicide. She then immediately threw them up intentionally, realizing what she had done. Her mother went bizerk and called an ambulance and had her taken to the hospital. She then Baker Acted her and she spent some time in a psych unit. I learned of all this after I returned to the states. She made no attempt to contact me while I was away.

My daughter is covered under my employer's group health insurance as a "student." I was not there during the event to consent to any care or to sign anything saying I that I agreed to be the responsible party. The bills, total close to $5,000.00 after the health insurance paid their part. As an aside my daughter later told me she should not have been taken to the hospital in the first place let alone be Baker Acted.

At any rate the bills remain unpaid and my ex wife contends they are my responsibility. I am saying the $ balance not covered by the insurance is not my legal responsibility.

MY QUESTION(s)
- Can the unpaid providers come after me and ding my credit?
- Can they drag me into court and get the court to order me to pay?
- I am wondering if I am still on the hook for something that happened to my adult child who was essentially under my ex-wife's care and influence?

My ex received a very lucrative lump sum alimony settlement from our divorce - she has the money but is still trying to squeeze me after the fact and I have drawn a line in the sand by saying no.

All that being said (and so forum readers don't think I am a heartless bastard) I will do the right thing by my daughter but I want that to be between me and her and not dictated by a medical provider, collection agency or the courts (or bitter ex-wife). I am not saying I will bail her out completely but I will work with her.
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Old Jun 1st, 2008, 12:28 PM   #2
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Default Re: Legal Responsibility for Adult Child's Medical Bills

Does your insurance policy make you responsible for co-pays...it would seem it may?
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Old Jun 1st, 2008, 06:24 PM   #3
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Default Re: Legal Responsibility for Adult Child's Medical Bills

I don't see anything in the insurance policy making me responsible for the co-pays.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2008, 02:53 PM   #4
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Default Re: Legal Responsibility for Adult Child's Medical Bills

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Originally Posted by rdrohl View Post
I have an adult child (19) who does not live with me and lives with her mother (ex wife). While I was out of the country my daughter took some sleeping pills alledgedly attempting suicide. She then immediately threw them up intentionally, realizing what she had done. Her mother went bizerk and called an ambulance and had her taken to the hospital. She then Baker Acted her and she spent some time in a psych unit. I learned of all this after I returned to the states. She made no attempt to contact me while I was away.

My daughter is covered under my employer's group health insurance as a "student." I was not there during the event to consent to any care or to sign anything saying I that I agreed to be the responsible party. The bills, total close to $5,000.00 after the health insurance paid their part. As an aside my daughter later told me she should not have been taken to the hospital in the first place let alone be Baker Acted.

At any rate the bills remain unpaid and my ex wife contends they are my responsibility. I am saying the $ balance not covered by the insurance is not my legal responsibility.

MY QUESTION(s)
- Can the unpaid providers come after me and ding my credit?
- Can they drag me into court and get the court to order me to pay?
- I am wondering if I am still on the hook for something that happened to my adult child who was essentially under my ex-wife's care and influence?

My ex received a very lucrative lump sum alimony settlement from our divorce - she has the money but is still trying to squeeze me after the fact and I have drawn a line in the sand by saying no.

All that being said (and so forum readers don't think I am a heartless bastard) I will do the right thing by my daughter but I want that to be between me and her and not dictated by a medical provider, collection agency or the courts (or bitter ex-wife). I am not saying I will bail her out completely but I will work with her.

I'd like an answer to this too. I am in a similiar situation where my wife did the same with our 18 year old son. He had an operation and was on my insurance as full time student. I didn't sign anything to agree on anything but yet I am the one they are trying to go after. According to Illinois Law, I am not liable if I didn't sign a guarantor agreement once he reaches the age of 18. But my wife did so I am wondering if this is legal and they can do this. I hope to get some help here and ty in advance.
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Old Nov 17th, 2010, 02:16 PM   #5
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Default Re: Legal Responsibility for Adult Child's Medical Bills

So what is the answer to this? I'm possibly looking at the same problem.
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Old Nov 18th, 2010, 12:51 PM   #6
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So what is the answer to this? I'm possibly looking at the same problem.
The answer is, if the child is on your insurance, your insurance should take care of it. Any further bills unpaid by insurance are your responsibility. Putting a child on insurance assumes all risk. If you don't want to pay for your child's medical care (and what fit parent would actually take issue with that?), then don't have them on your insurance.

The poster who stated they didn't see anything in their insurance policy that makes them responsible for the co-pays, clearly you need the concept of insurance and insurance policy holder explained to you.
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Old Nov 20th, 2010, 04:44 AM   #7
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Default Re: Legal Responsibility for Adult Child's Medical Bills

UNREGISTERED: " If you don't want to pay for your child's medical care (and what fit parent would actually take issue with that?), then don't have them on your insurance. "

Unregistered, I take it you don't have to pay for your own healthcare? and your child must not be an at-risk adult child? Good for you. However, those who throw stones.... ;o)

But please, because you appear to be in the know, please do explain how a parent can remove an adult child from their healthcare policy considering the new healthcare reform act. You are saying that you know for certain that it is an option, not a mandate?

Looking forward to your reply.
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Old Nov 20th, 2010, 09:09 AM   #8
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Default Re: Legal Responsibility for Adult Child's Medical Bills

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UNREGISTERED: " If you don't want to pay for your child's medical care (and what fit parent would actually take issue with that?), then don't have them on your insurance. "

Unregistered, I take it you don't have to pay for your own healthcare? and your child must not be an at-risk adult child? Good for you. However, those who throw stones.... ;o)

But please, because you appear to be in the know, please do explain how a parent can remove an adult child from their healthcare policy considering the new healthcare reform act. You are saying that you know for certain that it is an option, not a mandate?

Looking forward to your reply.
WaMom
What are you talking about? This is a very old post. Someone provided an answer and revived it and now you're jumping down their throat?

You took the time to quote someone's answer, but did you take the time to actually read it?

"You are saying that you know for certain that it is an option, not a mandate?" Where did you get this? Nowhere did the post you quoted say any such thing.

If you want answers to your questions, talk to your insurance agent. Not some stranger on the internet you have decided to challenge.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2012, 05:27 PM   #9
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Default Re: Legal Responsibility for Adult Child's Medical Bills

There is a lot of confusion here but in my non-legal opinion:

If you carry health insurance, then you pay premiums and have a binding contract with the insurance company and they should pay according to its terms if you incur a covered expense. In most cases, you are paying additional consideration to have your dependents covered as well. So they too, are bound by the terms in the insurance contract dealing with dependent coverage.

When you or they go to a medical provider and present your insurance card or your dependent does, you are merely giving notification to the provider that on its face, you have an insurance coverage contract. They can chose whether or not to accept this and there is usually a contact number they can call to verify that you do in fact have the coverage you say you do and what the benefit terms are. Also and again, you are the one that has the contract with the insurance company and ultimately, the payment on the terms of that contract will be legally paid to you or a dependent, but as a COURTESY the provider at their option, can accept your assignment of those future payments to them. Some doctors will and some won't. I am sure you have seen the signs in offices that say, "Payment expected at time of service, you are responsible for filing your own insurance". What they are really saying is that they are unwilling to accept any assignment of future benefits legally payable to you. They want their money NOW!

In the meantime, virtually every provider will make you sign a financial responsibility document for the entire amount of the charge in addition to the forms allowing the assignment if they are willing to accept it. This is the binding contract between the patient and the provider for the services rendered and its terms are enforceable against the parties. The person who signs the contract, if legally able to, is liable for the entire charge of the services and it doesn't matter if they are merely a dependent. They are obligating themselves and their estates, but not their parents for all charges. Then and hopefully, the provider receives an insurance payment which covers the entire expense. If not, then several things could or could have happened.

They paid an estimated amount in advance to cover what the insurance payment was likely not to cover or the provider extends them credit and they receive a bill after the fact for any remaining charges not covered by insurance.

In short, presenting an insurance id card doesn't result in a contract. An insurance card is merely a notification of a contractual relationship between you and an insurance company. The doctor's office can chose whether or not they will accept the patient's assignment of those benefits from that contract.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2012, 09:15 PM   #10
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Default Re: Legal Responsibility for Adult Child's Medical Bills

Unfortunately, the last poster in the thread has not been back in almost 2 years. I'm sure they have reached some resolution.
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