Will my mother's final medical expenses be paid even though the coverage has been cancelled upon her death?

A fellow caregiver asked...

My mom recently died and some medical bills will still be routed to Medicare and her secondary insurance, American Republic, from doctors and her final days in the hospital. Will both Medicare and her secondary insurance continue to pay her remaining medical bills that she incurred while alive, even though she is now deceased? If so, will they continue to pay if I inform them and cancel the premium?

Expert Answer

Yes, all medical bills incurred by your mother are covered by Medicare and by her secondary insurance, as long as her premiums were paid up to the time of her death. Also, there is no need to continue paying premiums after her death (unless there is an unpaid premium from the time your mother was alive). Both Medicare and the secondary insurance company have an obligation to pay for all the covered medical expenses your mother incurred while the insurance coverage was in effect. The fact that some medical bills don't arrive until after your mother's death does not affect Medicare's and the insurance company's obligation to pay. The crucial time is when the bills are incurred -- meaning when the medical care is actually provided -- not when the billing paperwork is completed and the bill is received.