What a mess!

by Mitzi
(Colonial Heights, Va. US)

I am in Va. I went to a local hospital for chest pains on Monday, Jan. 30,2012. I work part time with no benefits. I was asked for $250 deposit when I left and did not have it. I was told to get my bills together and they may be able to help me financially. On Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012, I was contacted by the hospital and informed they could not help me because my credit score was too high. Then they told me my bill, for less than four hours was $4,941, for just the emergency room. They also wanted to know if I was paying by credit card/cash or if I wanted to pay $411 a month. I made less than $10,000 last year and my house payment is $503 a month, plus I have other bills and have to eat! I was called again yesterday and told they would settle for $2000, if I pay within the next ten days and if I don't my bill will go to a collection agency. They said they want an answer by Friday, Feb. 10, 2012. I had my taxes filed and I'll be getting $1000 soon but they advised me to borrow or whatever I have to do to get the money to them asap. I guess my question(s) is, can they make me pay that bill so fast or can I pay what I can when I can or is there a way to determine what you can pay by what you make? I hate to ruin my credit because it's almost perfect. That's because I do pay my bills. I have a hundred year old house, in need of repair and my newest vehicle is twelve years old. I also have a twenty three year old vehicle that I don't drive much because of the condition. My sixteen year old Nissan gets me back and forth to work but, thats' less than two miles away. I even had one person tell me they were taken to court by the same hospital because they tried to pay what they could when they could but they wanted it faster. What are my options, or should I just give up? Seems like in this country, the less you have, or if you don't want to work, you can get help. What a mess!

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Mar 04, 2012
What a mess!
by: Debtcollectionanswers

Mitzi:

The hospital is certainly being aggressive, but many medical facilities are really hurting financially and so they are being much more proactive about getting paid than they used to be.

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to your problem. First, you cannot simply pay what you can when you can. If you want to pay your debt over time, you must negotiate an installment payment plan with the hospital. I realize that you have tried to do that and they are demanding that you pay more than you can afford. However, stick to your guns. Let them know that you want to pay your debt, but that you cannot pay as much as they are asking and try to negotiate a payment amount that you can afford. It may take some back and forth negotiating. Perhaps as part of your bargaining you can offer to pay them the full amount of your tax refund as soon as you get it, which should help lower the amount of your installment payments. Do not agree to any demands that you feel uncomfortable with or cannot meet. If you and the hospital end up with an agreement, do not pay any money on it until you get all of the terms of the agreement in writing.

If your debt has already been turned over to a collection agency by the time you read this answer, you can try to negotiate a payment plan with it instead. Again, if you do, don't make any payments on it until you get all of the terms of your agreement in writing.

If you get no where in your negotiations, you may want to enlist the help of a consumer law attorney in your area who helps people resolve their debt collection problems. Sometimes, an attorney can get results when a consumer has not been able to. Your first meeting with the attorney should be free.

I also recommend that you go here to learn about other resources and options medical debt collection for dealing with unpaid medical bills. Good luck!

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