Austin, TX asked in Estate Planning for Texas

Q: If an uninsured patient dies after being hospitalized, will her estate be responsible for the bill?

The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) mandates that an ER and hospital treat an uninsured patient until she is stabilized (or dies), but it's an unfunded mandate and I believe patient is technically responsible for bill. This patient lost coverage when her husband, who had family coverage through his job, died in mid-January. She now has pneumonia and thinks she might die. I'm trying to convince her that it might make sense to get COBRA because of the retroactive coverage. She has assets, and I'm concerned that her beneficiaries won't get anything until her recent hospital bills are paid.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Austin, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: The first $15,000 of medical bills of the last illness are payable as a Class 1 claim.

Anything above that is payable as a Class 8 claim.

All are payable before anything is distributed to beneficiaries.

COBRA costs. But if she does die with big medical bills, that could cost her estate more.

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