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So a buddy of mine had to go to the hospital after having some serious abdominal pains. After some probing, they felt they should do a cat scan (or some sort of a scan where they put you on a bed and roll you into a machine). After all was said and done, the bill came to $13K, and as the subject says, he had no health insurance at the time. Luckily (depending on how you look at it), it turns out it was nothing serious, so they sent him home late that same night. This was at Cedar Sinai if that matters.

In any event, the hospital sent a couple of bills, which he ignored.. and it eventually went to a collection agency, who he has started to pay. (Just one payment so far).

My question is this: I'm pretty sure that if he had gone through the business office at the hospital, they would have done something to help him out - he was jobless at the time and has been at very low paying jobs his whole life. However, now that the debt has been purchased (?) by another company, I'm not sure there's anything that can be done to lower that bill. Is there something he can do?

More FYI: he's since found a job that comes with health insurance, thought I doubt that makes any difference whatsoever. I think he's embarassed about the whole thing, so he hasn't been doing anything to help himself out - hence my question here. ;)
 

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BrianK said:

My question is this: I'm pretty sure that if he had gone through the business office at the hospital, they would have done something to help him out - he was jobless at the time and has been at very low paying jobs his whole life. However, now that the debt has been purchased (?) by another company, I'm not sure there's anything that can be done to lower that bill. Is there something he can do?
Doubtful, ours would have set up a payment plan without financing charge or interest. Also, they would have had social work try to get him a medical card to see if he was medicaid qualified to help pay for it. Now that it has left hospital those may not be an option. That being said, I still think that he should contact the social workers at the hospital and see if they can help. You'd be amazed at what they can sometimes.
Good luck.
 

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BrianK said:
My question is this: I'm pretty sure that if he had gone through the business office at the hospital, they would have done something to help him out - he was jobless at the time and has been at very low paying jobs his whole life. However, now that the debt has been purchased (?) by another company, I'm not sure there's anything that can be done to lower that bill. Is there something he can do?
There are two paths to take on this issue (other than the one mentioned by babak). One is for him to pay the debt in full directly to the hospital and leverage HIPAA to clear his credit report. The other is to make a settlement offer for a percentage of the debt.

Here are some links to get him started ...

HIPAA Letter
http://whychat.5u.com/
http://whychat.5u.com/hipltr.html

Settlement Letter
http://www.creditinfocenter.com/
http://www.creditinfocenter.com/debt/settle_debts.shtml
http://www.creditinfocenter.com/debt/neg_rating_after_settle.shtml
http://www.creditinfocenter.com/debt/CanCreditorSue4SettlementDifferences.shtml
http://www.creditinfocenter.com/forms/sampleletter3.shtml

I hope this helps!
 

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Don't understand why the case manager didn't work him up for possible medicaid eligibility, but another matter now.

As with the other guys, typically hospitals will set up a monthly payment plan and as long as they make regular agreed upon payments no adverse impact on credit rating. As you say, your friend really messed in the next by ignoring the bills he received.

Chris
 

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When I was younger and starting out in broadcasting I had a entry level job without health insurance. Turns out I HAD worked there long enough to have it but my boss was an ******* and didnt care to get me signed up.

I was also moonlighting as a snowboard instructor at a local ski hill. While teaching a lesson I was kneeling down helping a kid and had someone run into my back full force. It hurt like hell but I didnt think much of it. The next morning I woke up vomiting I hurt so bad. I had to go to the ER. They did LOADS of tests. Turns out the impact bruised my kidneys and I had clots passing.

Anyhoo, the bill was $4000. I was 20 years old. I had to pay that SOB off one payment at a time in full. Noone helped me or gave a damn. My boss finally got me signed up after the fact..but it did me no good.

What pisses me off are the indigent people who go into the ER when they're drunk or overdosed and get helped out for free while a 19 year old like myself who IS working trying to do something with themselves gets charged the full amount. It was hard times paying that debt off on top of college expenses etc. My parents helped pay alot of it but made me pay most of it for "life experience". :huh:

Tell your friend he's not alone and best of luck to him!
 

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Jenn,
The indigents that come to the er also get bills just like everyone else (if they didn't use fake ID or phony address) it's just that they make no effort to pay it, these are folkd who aren't really worried about impact to credit hx.

I think now at least, pretty much across the board hospitals have to negotiate a payment plan with patients and can't adversely impact a person credit as long as payments are made on a regular basis.
Chris
 

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zvezdah1 said:
(if they didn't use fake ID or phony address) it's just that they make no effort to pay
My favorite one is using a bar's phone number as their contact number.
 

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I thought people on welfare got free visits to the ER. lol

Also when a bum comes in who has no addy or phone number what do you do? Make him leave?



I broke my ankle once (racing someone/sprinting across a parking lot of all things) and there was a stinky man in the curtain next to mine and the nurse said "oh he's a regular". I just assumed he came in to detox when he felt like it.

Maybe if you have no health insurance and you need to go in the thing to do would be wear some clothes you've had in the hamper for a week without washing, put some dirt under your fingernails and drink a few scotches before you head into the ER. :p Hey, it COULD work!
 
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