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  1. #1
    LindaP777 is offline Senior Member
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    Medical Bills, no insurance - what to do?

    What is the name of your state? OHIO
    A quick question, posting for a dear friend of mine, who recently went through a successful heart bi-pass surgery. My friend and her husband are retired, no health insurance, limited income, limited savings. They are no facing over $100,000 in medical bills. We have heard that as long as you are making an effort (sending $20-$25) a month per bill (surgeon, hospital, anesthesiologist, etc) that they can not come after you? They are enduring the phone calls "refinance you house", "we're going to turn it over to collections", etc., so they are very concerned.
    My friend plans to go back to work as soon as she's given the OK, but she's very concerned and wants to pay her bills.
    We'd like to get the facts, please.
  2. #2
    lealea1005 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by LindaP777 View Post
    What is the name of your state? OHIO
    A quick question, posting for a dear friend of mine, who recently went through a successful heart bi-pass surgery. My friend and her husband are retired, no health insurance, limited income, limited savings. They are no facing over $100,000 in medical bills. We have heard that as long as you are making an effort (sending $20-$25) a month per bill (surgeon, hospital, anesthesiologist, etc) that they can not come after you? They are enduring the phone calls "refinance you house", "we're going to turn it over to collections", etc., so they are very concerned.
    My friend plans to go back to work as soon as she's given the OK, but she's very concerned and wants to pay her bills.
    We'd like to get the facts, please.
    How old are they? If they're retired, are they old enough to be on Medicare?

    What they may be able to do is call each of the providers and explain the situation. The provider [I][B]may[I][B] agree to lower their current fee to what the insurance companies would have paid them, or discount it somwhat (no guarantee, though). Since they have been paying small amounts on a regular basis, this may help their cause.

    Also, some counties/communitites have program or funds for the uninsured that they make be able to take advantage of.

    The providers are not obligated to keep an account out of collections because they are accepting small payments on very large bills.

    Hope this info was of some help to you. Good luck to your friend!
    Last edited by lealea1005; 03-30-2007 at 08:04 AM.
  3. #3
    barry1817 is offline Senior Member
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    medical bills

    Quote Originally Posted by LindaP777 View Post
    What is the name of your state? OHIO
    A quick question, posting for a dear friend of mine, who recently went through a successful heart bi-pass surgery. My friend and her husband are retired, no health insurance, limited income, limited savings. They are no facing over $100,000 in medical bills. We have heard that as long as you are making an effort (sending $20-$25) a month per bill (surgeon, hospital, anesthesiologist, etc) that they can not come after you? They are enduring the phone calls "refinance you house", "we're going to turn it over to collections", etc., so they are very concerned.
    My friend plans to go back to work as soon as she's given the OK, but she's very concerned and wants to pay her bills.
    We'd like to get the facts, please.

    It sounds like your friends are ethical and honest, and that bankruptcy might be the best solution for them if they don't have and it when they return to work they won't be able to make payments.

    $100,000 loan to make payments may cost them $6-700/month. Are they in a position to do that? Advise them to discuss this with an attorney that specializes in bankruptcy to see if this is a viable solution, and wish that they get better soon.

    [email]Barry1817@aol.com[/email]
  4. #4
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    It is very likely that they will be eligible for Medicaid due to their financial situation so bankruptcy will probably not be needed.
  5. #5
    fairisfair is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecmst12 View Post
    It is very likely that they will be eligible for Medicaid due to their financial situation so bankruptcy will probably not be needed.
    They have a very limited time to determine eligibility that will cover past costs. Honestly, I am quite surprised that there was not an onsite medicaid rep, or a hospital patient service rep that would have begun assisting them with the process while she was hospitalized.
  6. #6
    longsally111 is offline Member
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    an idea

    The hospital I work at has programs in place for people with limited incomes. In a lot of the cases, we absorb the cost. If your friends look into the hospital, most have the same thing. They can apply for hospital sponsorship and have their bill reduced or eliminated. I would also like to say that I set up a payment plan with a local hospital and after 3 payments, they turned me over to collections anyway. After that, once it was on my credit, I told them they could garnish my taxes and get their money over the next 10 years. By then, it will be gone off my credit.
  7. #7
    ellencee is offline Senior Member
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    How about some objective thinking and responses, OK?

    "Retired" does not always mean being "65 or older" or being disabled; therefore Social Security's Medicare insurance may not be an option.

    "Unable to pay the medical bill" does not always mean no assets are available; therefore, charity funding, Medicaid, and bankruptcy may not be options, at all.

    "Fixed Income" does not always mean low income; it means an income that has no variables in amount (no loss days; no overtime; no bonus; no other income).

    Don't you think we ought to find out for what reason(s) the couple "cannot pay"? Is it that they do not want to pay by liquidating assets, ie. equity in their home (reverse equity; home equity loan)? Or does the couple lack any potential to pay this expense?

    And...
    What happens the next time one of them gets sick? If assets are available, then assets are available for some kind of medical insurance. If home equity is available, it may be the best way to prevent further loss in the future.

    And...Food for thought...as fairisfair pointed out:
    The hospital's discharge planner would have evaluated this couple for benefits availble to them.

    EC
    Last edited by ellencee; 03-30-2007 at 08:58 PM.
  8. #8
    LindaP777 is offline Senior Member
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    Thank you everyone for your responses! I'll try to answer some questions, but to be honest, I don't know a lot of the answers. I'll update when I find out for sure.

    Age; not sure, but they are both probably early 60's (I think he's a couple of years older, but she's the one who had the heart attack.)

    Retired; he no longer works, not sure if he has "retirement income". She worked part time in retail up until her heart attack.

    Assets; They own a modest house ($90k or so), but I'm guessing they still have a mortage. One of the bill collectors is encouraging them to refinance the house (as they do have some equity built up), but I think that's a bad idea for them, as it's a risk to their home (losing it, if they can not pay the mortgage). They drive a modest car, unsure if they have payments on it or not.

    Income; other than her pt retail income, I'm not sure. I do not know if he gets ss income yet or not, and not sure if he has retirement income.

    I'm not sure if anyone at the hospital helped them or not. I know a couple of the bills (surgeon?) dropped their price a little when they found out they had no insurance.

    Does bankruptcy eliminate medical bills? If they can keep their house, but eliminate the bills, that would probably be best. i do know not being able to pay is really bothering them. I'm not sure they would consider bankruptcy. They've always been the type to meet their obligations, living within their means.

    I'll post back if I find out more.
  9. #9
    ellencee is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by LindaP777 View Post
    Thank you everyone for your responses! I'll try to answer some questions, but to be honest, I don't know a lot of the answers. I'll update when I find out for sure.

    Age; not sure, but they are both probably early 60's (I think he's a couple of years older, but she's the one who had the heart attack.)

    Retired; he no longer works, not sure if he has "retirement income". She worked part time in retail up until her heart attack.

    Assets; They own a modest house ($90k or so), but I'm guessing they still have a mortage. One of the bill collectors is encouraging them to refinance the house (as they do have some equity built up), but I think that's a bad idea for them, as it's a risk to their home (losing it, if they can not pay the mortgage). They drive a modest car, unsure if they have payments on it or not.

    Income; other than her pt retail income, I'm not sure. I do not know if he gets ss income yet or not, and not sure if he has retirement income.

    I'm not sure if anyone at the hospital helped them or not. I know a couple of the bills (surgeon?) dropped their price a little when they found out they had no insurance.

    Does bankruptcy eliminate medical bills? If they can keep their house, but eliminate the bills, that would probably be best. i do know not being able to pay is really bothering them. I'm not sure they would consider bankruptcy. They've always been the type to meet their obligations, living within their means.

    I'll post back if I find out more.
    Sometimes, local senior centers have financial advisors who provide free consultation and advice.

    Even if it means spending a hundred dollars, I think the couple would benefit from advice from an elder law attorney or a financial advisor who can help them plan for the future.

    If they are able to file bankruptcy, that will have no influence on future medical bills and future medical bills are a certainty. That's also why I hate to see them spend the equity in their house to pay this bill or part of this bill because the future is bound to bring new needs.

    An attorney may be able to negotiate a payment contract with the provider and eliminate the calls from bill collectors. I mean, what is the bill collector trying to do? give the woman another heart attack?

    I hope you are able to provide some guidance for them and I appreciate your concern for this couple.

    EC
  10. #10
    barry1817 is offline Senior Member
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    medical bills

    Quote Originally Posted by LindaP777 View Post
    Thank you everyone for your responses! I'll try to answer some questions, but to be honest, I don't know a lot of the answers. I'll update when I find out for sure.

    Age; not sure, but they are both probably early 60's (I think he's a couple of years older, but she's the one who had the heart attack.)

    Retired; he no longer works, not sure if he has "retirement income". She worked part time in retail up until her heart attack.

    Assets; They own a modest house ($90k or so), but I'm guessing they still have a mortage. One of the bill collectors is encouraging them to refinance the house (as they do have some equity built up), but I think that's a bad idea for them, as it's a risk to their home (losing it, if they can not pay the mortgage). They drive a modest car, unsure if they have payments on it or not.

    Income; other than her pt retail income, I'm not sure. I do not know if he gets ss income yet or not, and not sure if he has retirement income.

    I'm not sure if anyone at the hospital helped them or not. I know a couple of the bills (surgeon?) dropped their price a little when they found out they had no insurance.

    Does bankruptcy eliminate medical bills? If they can keep their house, but eliminate the bills, that would probably be best. i do know not being able to pay is really bothering them. I'm not sure they would consider bankruptcy. They've always been the type to meet their obligations, living within their means.

    I'll post back if I find out more.
    when you check bankruptcy regulations I have seen where some equity in a home can be kept.

    But the real issue is that once a bankruptcy is started there is a stop put on attempts to collect, and if the bankruptcy goes through the debts become discharged.

    Will that destroy credit for future, probably, will they need medical care in the future, probably, but if they become eligible for medicare, medical providers will recieve payment for treatment and the past becomes irrelevant in the discussion.

    Reality is that once people realize that there are no funds, you can't get blood out of a turnip.

    You will need to get started ASAP on this.

    [email]Barry1817@aol.com[/email]

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