Mounting medical debt in collections..


I just joined today…finally! I have an enormous amount of medical debt. I made the very immature mistake of basically ignoring the bills, plain and simple. Because of this choice, my credit is back down to the mid 500’s. My husband and I declared Bankruptcy 5 years ago as a result of both of us losing our careers, within seven weeks of one another. We lost everything. I mention the devastation of job loss, Bankruptcy, because I get told to “claim BK” quite a bit when I talk to Debt relief companies, such as Lexington Law. They have told me “Your debt is only medical and it is too high for us to help you, therefore, the only suggestion we can offer you is Bankruptcy. Since you do not own your own home anymore, a loan is out of the question. We see your Husband is a Veteran of the Military but only for four years, so no collectable benefits. He also is receiving a pension and SSI/Disability, yet again, we cannot borrow against that, best of luck to you.” That company is the last one I tried to attain help from, five months ago.

I am just going to be straight to the point: Does ANYONE have experience with my situation?

Can anyone give me true, solid advice?

Thank you in advance for any suggestions, advice and help.

Juleigh Hastings

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I wish I had advice for you, but I don’t. Hoping someone else here does.

I have been where you are not too long ago. I have had pretty good success contacting the debt collectors directly and negotiating the debts with them. It takes a little patience and work but they will generally work with you. Out of seven I only had 1 that refused to lower and settle the amount owed and the rest I was surprised they settled for much less than I owed and it was all medical also. For the future I would suggest talking to your doctors office/hospital about any help they can provide while you are still in need. Many offer very low payment options and some even reduce the bill but this has to be done as soon as you receive the first bill and requires financial documentation so be prepared. If you use a company to negotiate on your behalf it ends up costing you for their services, the same services you can provide for yourself.

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Good morning,

Have you tried negotiating your medical bills? Are they all hospital bills? If so, you can speak to someone in the billing department to see if they will negotiate down or eliminate your bills because of your financial situation. You may need to prove some proof but it’s worth a try. You can also ask if you can to a repayment agreement after negotiating the bills down.

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I would also recommend trying to negotiate a payment plan with the medical billing agency or hospital or doctor. We went through this in the family and while the medical provider was a local hospital and probably easier to deal with than some distant collection agency, they were willing to accept reduced payments.

Creditors, for the most part, would rather you pay something rather than nothing. If you get an agent on the phone who flat out tells you you can’t do that, insist on speaking to someone further up the chain. It might take some perseverance and strong insistence but don’t stop until you get to talk to someone with real decision-making power.

Oh, and keep a tablet handy and record everything… date and time you called, names of agents, phone numbers, etc. It will help keep you sane if you get sucked into an endless cycle of phone calls.

Are you sure about your husband not being able to receive medical benefits? The VA only requires 24 months of consecutive service. Maybe check with them directly if you are just going on what someone might have told you.

Good luck.

@Julie Hastings, Have you applied to Medicaid? I don’t know how it works, but I once had it years ago and if I remember correctly, you can take your bills to them, and if you qualify they will pay them and put you on Medicaid. You must qualify for Medicaid annually. As a senior, I now receive Quality Member Benefits but no Medicaid. Both come directly from the DC government Office of Financial Services. I applied for QMB when I learned about it a couple of years ago, and I suspect it is a part of the Affordable Care Act. I receive Medicare as a result of my first disability in 2004, and then my retirement age, 2011. It has been very helpful. I hope something I shared will help you.