Your instincts and advice to your mother to proceed slowly and cautiously in paying your father’s final medical bills were sound.
A recent study revealed the scary statistic that about 90% of hospital bills contain errors, mostly in the hospital's favor. But may people pay the bills without question or documentation, especially since most medical providers are quite aggressive about coming after those they target to pay.
But even they can’t wring money where there’s none to be had. And the law protects Social Security benefits from being taken to cover this medical debt.
These days, it is not uncommon for people to need time and help in paying medical bills. Some hospitals have their own programs in place that provide this help, or can put you in contact with outside programs that can help pay the bills. These programs may significantly lower the total amount of a hospital bill. Also, some hospitals offer payment plans, which can stretch out payment of hospital bills over time at interest rates well below market. To find out more about these possibilities, contact the hospital’s patient representative or ombudsman.