This is a discussion from a Facebook group that we had permission to re-post.
Q: I just got a notice from a lawyer saying that they are demanding payment in full for my hospital bill. It went from the hospital to collections to the lawyer. Supposedly, I “failed” to respond to “frequent demands” from the hospital.
Actually, I called them frequently (even the number/extension/name of the person I was given). I got to a voice mail system which did not allow me to leave a message. It said the hospital will get back to you. I could never get around that message.
I Tried to Pay
Eventually, I called the business office. I wanted to set up a payment arrangement for the hospital bill when insurance. didn’t cover it due to a “pre-existing condition.”
The business office gave me a long run-around and then didn’t have any answers. And if they didn’t, who would?!
So, I just kept waiting for one of the hospital bill collecters to call me directly, but it didn’t happen. When I called the hospital to bitch about all this (not sure now whom I spoke to), I was of course blamed, and now the lawyer wants his money.
Suggestions for Dealing With the Hospital Bill
A: I’d see if you could access legal services if available in your area. Some hospitals also have provisions for charity care which they don’t tell people about. Your hospital bill payment plan should have kept this from happening. Some of this is state specific though. Best of luck.
A: Contact the hospital’s financial aid or ‘charity’ office now. Collect any notes you have from your attempts to call the business office about the hospital bill. Write down anything you remember from those calls now. Contact your area legal aid group. also, your local credit counseling program.
If you have money in a bank, consider removing it so it can’t be garnished. If you have income from work, some employers will just fire a person rather than deal with the paper work from a garnishment.
If you have Social Security Disability (SSDI), relax as that probably can’t be touched except by the feds. Check with the Social Security on this though.
If you have not acknowledged the debt verbally, in writing or by making a payment yet, DON’T!