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My Friend Bonnie

Bonnie, 73, Lantana

In July 2016, my 72 year old colleague and friend experienced abdominal pain and went to the emergency room where she was diagnosed with gall stones. While at the hospital, other organs started to fail and she was moved to the intensive care unit, where she was kept alive with breathing and feeding tubes. Her weakened heart gave up a few times, but her body finally stabilized. Her breathing tube came out and was replaced with a trachea. After a few more weeks in the hospital she was moved to a rehabilitation center.

At the time, she was covered by Medicare and had a supplemental insurance to cover Medicare Part B and D.

Despite several scares, Bonnie was finally released from the rehabilitation center in December 2016. Three days after being released she felt dizzy, fell and broke her foot. She went back to the hospital where they found her heart severely weakened. After stabilizing her again she was sent to another rehabilitation center to recover.

Her inpatient rehab 100 days of Medicare ran out and billing/paying became an issue. She had to wait 60 days for a new benefit period to start under Medicare.

Bills were accumulating and needed to be paid. To be considered for Medicaid in Florida you cannot have more than $2000 of non-exempt assets in your name. She had to spend down $50,000 in retirement savings.

Meanwhile, her medical care remained in limbo while the application for Medicaid was being reviewed. She was constantly nauseous and was told her gallbladder likely needed to be removed.

I saw my friend withering in front of me throughout this waiting process. She was helpless and severely depressed. She felt she had no reason to live anymore and the system was letting her down. She passed away one week after Medicaid finally accepted her application.

None of us, even the insured, are completely secure.


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