The High Cost of Dying

Many people think about the high cost of health care and living, but most don’t think about the high cost of health care and dying. It’s not uncommon for hospital costs to run more than half a million dollars for two months in a modern hospital for an elderly patient. Since Medicare pays for tests and procedures ordered as medically necessary, these expenses aren’t usually monitored closely as they are when a patient is using their private health insurance.


Those who are planning their estates and preparing their end of life directives should carefully consider the ramifications of an extended hospital stay. Although many end of life directives state that no extraordinary measures should be taken to extend life, most don’t specify that tests and procedures should be limited. By law, a doctor can certify a test as medically necessary when it may not be medically appropriate, such as the Pap smear that was ordered for a nonagenarian who was months from her demise.


Hospice care is an affordable, caring alternative to an extended hospital stay. Most people would rather die in the comfort of home rather than in the cold environment of a hospital. If hospice is your preference, be sure to include that in your health care directive.

In order to preserve the value of an estate, those who are writing their last will and testament and preparing their advance health care directive should consult an attorney who specializes in elder care law as well as estate law. Most lawyers can prepare these documents, but seniors should ensure that their attorney is a specialist in these areas. It’s important to discuss these issues with family members as well so that your last wishes are carried out according to your directives. Although they may be well-intentioned, family members who insist on keeping you alive at all costs may spend the bulk of your estate on tests and procedures that you wouldn’t want.


Whether you’re looking for elder law NJ, elder law NY, estate law NJ, or estate law NY, we can help you so call our office today at (973) 284-8525 to find out more.