You can get some pretty good credit advice at www. credit boards . com And contact the american cancer society at the resources link above.
Don't be afraid and worry too much about it, there are ways of taking care of it.
Best of luck to you
I'm looking for some advice on finances. Even though I've been paying on my bills every month, my hospital is taking me to court.
They only give you a year from each bill to pay it off. I was unable to pay off a $7000 bill within a year, even though I've never missed a monthly payment, and they served me with court papers on Monday. I could use some advice. I'm stunned and sad and scared about how this could turn out.
Okay... This is my financial story... I had surgery back in 2006 to remove half of my thyroid gland, because of tumors. This was after 2 years of trying other forms of treatment, and an inconclusive biopsy on the tumors that were on the right side of my thyroid gland. I only work part-time, so I had to stop substitute teaching for 2 months, while I recovered. My husband's insurance required us to first pay 100% of $750 out-of- pocket, then we had to hit the $5000 catastrophic limit, before the insurance paid 100% of all medical bills. So! This really screwed up our budget! I found a guy in town who does debt consolidations. It's non-profit that helps people like us. Check it out:
Anyway, the guy negotiated our unsecured debt with the hospital, clinics, doctors, credit cards and got us on a plan that would work with our income. This service was about $25/month. This worked well, until I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009. I was still working part-time, because there are no full-time jobs where I live that offer a decent wage and benefits... Needless to say, our budget plan was useless! I asked the counselor what we could do. He advised that we talk to a bankruptcy lawyer. He refered us to a guy in town.
We went to see the lawyer and he did a MEANS TEST to see if we qualified for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. (This test goes by your income and family size). Chapter 7 discharges all debts. (Just another hurdle brought to you by the republican rich XXX.) We did not qualify for Chapter 7, so we decided to retain the lawyer to represent us in filing for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. We signed a contract, paid a retainer of $495, which is rolled into the bankruptcy repayment plan. (Chapter 13 only discharges some of your debts.) This was okay with us, because we were able to keep the house and one of our cars that we still owed on, out of the bankruptcy. And were still able to get the hospital and other creditors off our backs. We only had to repay what % we could afford to pay. Without interest! This took about $60K in debt and reduced it to $24K to be paid off in 5 years. (plans are 3 or 5 years. The court decides. Another calculation/ hurdle.) We are now into the 3rd year of our bankruptcy.
Last year my husband unexpectantly ( Is there any other way???) had to have back surgery for ruptured discs. We gave up on Workman's Comp.through his employer, because they would drag this thing on until his legs would be so week and numb, he wouldn't be able to walk very well. Even though it was because his employer treats him like a pack mule and a slave... ( I also lost child support income about 4 months ago.)
Anyway! Because of this the bankruptcy was not working, so I contacted the lawyer, again, retained his services for $200, and he worked with the Federal Court to adjust the bankruptcy payments downward from $326/mo. bi-monthly to $50/mo.bi-monthly. Money comes directly out of my husband's pay checks. But this all takes time. You have to be very patient with the courts. They are slow and don't really care if you are waiting, or suffering. I hope this helps!!!! Talk to the hospital. Tell them that you may have to use the "B" word. Tee-Hee! (evil grin).
The abundantly wealthy hospital wanted to go after my husband's retirement $. Not on my watch!
OH! And because we are paying our mortgage and car payments, our credit scores did take too bad of a hit. They will recover faster after the bankruptcy.
P.S. I forgot to tell you this.,, The debt consolidation guy had us take a bankruptcy course. It was online or hard copy. You read stuff and take a quiz. I think it was 8 parts... Anyway, this helps your scores when the bankruptcy is over. I think it costs $50/person.
Come to think of it, I had to take a divorce class 11 years ago when I was going through a divorce. That cost was like, $100. I wish they would give you these classes before, instead of after. Ya know, " an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure." (Wink!)
Check with the hospital to see if they have a way to help you with the bills. I know for me I had a tough time paying because not only did I have 2 surgeries for ovarian cancer but I also have had 2 heart surgeries and a heart catheritization which has financially strapped me. The hospital I had my surgeries in have a financial counseler who sat down with me and looked at my income and my debts and was able to help me. It turns out that Lancaster General Hospital has an assistance plan for people in financial need and my bills were wiped out. Not only that, they gave me 1 year of medical assistance so I can see any doctor associated with their hospital and I don't have to worry about being billed for the services. They said they have this program for people with life threatening illnesses who cannot go without being under a doctors care. This has taken a huge weight off my shoulders because I didn't know how I would ever be able to pay what I owed which was about a combined total of $47,000 for the 4 surgeries and the cath not to mention the appointments. My doctors also agreed to waive their fees which is amazing. Now I have the time to get my heart healthy and fight the cancer without worrying about affording to see 8 doctors a year plus all the tests I get every 3 months. I hope you get the help you need and try not to worry. I know how scary financial problems can be but there are people and places to help.
This is far too complicated for a simple answer. For some people, filing bankruptcy is financially advantageous. For others it might be qualifying for Medicaid or SSI. I would suggest you start by looking for a local legal assistance organization that can give you advice. Even if they win the suit, they will get a judgment for what you owe. They actually legally already have that, so being sued doesn't really change anything.
Derbygirl is right. The hospital can offer you financial assistance. You call the financial debt at the hospital and request the application. Fill out the application, include tax information, and other financial information. I have helped my adult children file for assistance, and they have had their debts completely forgiven this way. Again. This takes time. My husband and I did not qualify, because he has too much money invested in his pension.
Do not ignore this judgement threat. I had a judgement against me for $40, because I refused to pay in full for alterations on my wedding gown. The woman didn't finish the job as agreed. I thought I could win, so I went to court. That judgement really lowered my credit score and was on my record for 8 years.