What happens when you or your spouse has a chronic illness and it gets to the point where you financially are out of resources? Recently “The Today Show” had a story about a couple who dealt with the costs in the only way they knew how in the USA.
The got divorced.
The woman’s husband, who was diagnosed with dementia that quickly progressed, needed round-the-clock care, and was moved to a nursing home. The bills were around $7500-8000 a month. After 18 months and $75,000 one of her husband’s doctors said, “Keep working and get yourself a really good lawyer.”
An elder law attorney told her as a last resort she could get a divorce. She had been married 43 years. Her response? “I was shocked, I was horrified and angry.” But with a divorce, her husband would qualify for the medicaid program “sooner rather than later” said her attorney.
So she says, “I did what I had to do to survive. I never stopped feeling married . . . I would never let them touch that. No one could touch [the ring on my finger].”
Ken Budd, the features editor of AARP magazine says getting a divorce for these reasons “is extreme, but a lot less extreme.”
He explains, medicare is only going to pay for 100 days of nursing home coverage; medicaid is designed for people in poverty. When asked, “Is this defrauding tax payers?” he responds “These aren’t people who are trying to beat the system. These are people who the system has beaten them down so they have to go to these desperate measures. . . Emotionally it was devestating. It was gut-renching. It was pretty much a last resort.”
He also advises one to talk to both a financial advisor and elder-care attorney. “They think Medicare is going to cover everything. That’s not the case.”
Dr. Janet Taylor, psychiatrist, says, “Through love for her husband and wanting to get the best care for him she made the ultimate sacrifice which was devestating emotionally to her.”
So what do you think?
When it comes to the Word Malachi 2:16 says, “I hate divorce,” says the Lord God of Israel. Many other scriptures tell us when divorce is “permissable” and when it is not.
I don’t have a particular opinion on this subject, because I have not stood in the shoes of one who was forced to make a decision like this. But I am curious of what you think?
If you were buried in debt and out of resources to care for your spouse, but by getting divorced he or she would receive better care, what would you do?
You can watch a video of the story More Couples Divorcing to Pay Medical Bills? after the brief commercial here.