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10-25-2010, 03:49 PM   #1
Cat-a-Tonic
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Doctor bills

Those outside of the US probably won't be able to relate to this (and may I just say that I'm very jealous of everyone who has national health care and doesn't have to pay for medical care). This is about medical bills.

I've got a few thousand bucks racked up in doctor bills. Yes, I have insurance, but a high deductible so I still end up paying a lot out of pocket. So I've been paying $200 every month towards my medical bills. But today I noticed on my bill that my monthly payment plan seemed to have been removed, and I called to get it straightened out. I was told that, given the size of my bill, I need to be paying more per month. I said that I cannot afford that - I've got other bills too, mortgage and student loans and credit card debt and so on. They said that maybe I could qualify for financial assistance through my hospital system, but when I looked up the information for that program, there's no way I qualify. I would basically have to be more than 500% below the poverty line (!!) and my medical bills would have to total at least half of my yearly salary. No, and no. I don't qualify for that. I'm poor, but I'm not ridiculously poor, so I don't qualify for financial help.

So apparently I am now going to be expected to somehow pay more per month on my medical bills, while still paying my other bills. I work full time even though I'm sick all the time, I don't know what more I can do. I don't have the energy to get a second job, and there's not much I can cut out of my budget - I already don't have cable TV and we don't buy a whole lot of frills - when I need things, I buy them on sale or find them in a thrift shop. The stress has really been getting to me today and I just needed to vent about it. Has anybody else had problems with their medical bills or with finances in general while still trying to deal with being ill? If so, what did you do?

I should mention that on top of all this, I'm still undiagnosed - so if my GI decides down the road that I need more tests to get to the bottom of my illness, I'll just be racking up more bills. It's all incredibly frustrating and depressing. Thanks for listening to me vent about it.
10-25-2010, 04:01 PM   #2
Astra
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Just wanna send you a big squashy hug Cat, wish I could be there to give it to you in person!
I can't relate, as you know we don't have anything like that here, but can empathise regarding all the other bills!
xxx
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10-25-2010, 04:14 PM   #3
GutlessWonder86
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Did you talk to the billing office manager and ask specifically to fill out an uncompensated care form?? This is something that is used throughout the USA that all hospitals use based upon a sliding fee scale. It's different from financial assistance through the business office.

Ask for the form.It's based specifically upon your income. You would have to provide proof of residency, W2, a valid of ID to show that you are you, and whatever else as each state is different. Then they use the scale to determine if you are eligible for 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, all or none of the bill.

Call the billing office and ask for the UCC form and have them mail it to you ASAP. If they tell you they don't know what it is, it's called Uncompensated Care. Funds are allocated every year for those who have no insurance or who don't have the funds to pay their deductibles/copays due to their income levels. It does exist so don't let anybody tell you otherwise. If the biller gives you a hard time, ask for a supervisor. Doctors offices have these government forms as well. Just call their billing office and they will send you the forms to fill out. If you are approved, it is good for an entire year and then you can reapply the following year.

One quick question, have you missed a payment at all when paying $200/month? If you have w/o calling them ASAP to ask to get it lowered, that is why they increased it, if you haven't missed one payment at all, then you can ask them to have it lowered if you are having are hard time paying said amt. I can't believe they don't want to accept what you can afford to pay as most places will accept anything reasonable as long as something is coming in.

Hope this information helps you. Good luck.
10-25-2010, 04:46 PM   #4
Cat-a-Tonic
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Joan: Thank you. It means a lot that you guys care about me!

GW: I will ask about that UCC form, thanks for that information! And no, I have never missed a payment. I think I paid a few days late once, but other than that I have paid the $200 on time every month. From what I understand, they want me to pay more now because I've racked up more debt - when I initially set up the payment plan, it was months ago and I didn't have as much medical debt as I do now. Now that my debt is higher, they think my monthly payment should be higher. When I call them again to ask for that form, I will try to speak to a supervisor or someone higher up who will hopefully understand the situation - that I'm sick, but working, with other bills, and I will pay what I can afford. I mean, that sounds reasonable to me - they'll get their money, it may just take a few more months than they seem to expect.

Ugh, I just hate the healthcare system here. One of my recurring fantasies is to move to Canada or the UK so that I can get free healthcare (well, not really free, taxpayer-paid, but a better system than the insurance nightmare we've got here).
10-25-2010, 05:08 PM   #5
DustyKat
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Godammit..............now this just breaks my heart. I just can't reconcile myself to the fact that people suffer and can go bankrupt due to ill health. Don't get me wrong, our system has it's fair share of issues, mind you I haven't had any to date, but give me tax payer funded health care any day. Doesn't matter if your the Prime Minister or homeless, you all have access to health care free of charge.

Sending you mega loads of hugs Cat.............



Thinking of you hun,
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10-25-2010, 06:02 PM   #6
Lisa
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Cat - they are full of BULL CRAP!.....

LEGALLY - as long as you are paying SOMETHING - it can be $10-/month.....they CANNOT add interest to your account - they can send your account to collections.....

I have a bill that I have been paying for, oh 10 YEARS - $10-/month.....although the last 6 months or so I haven't even gotten a statement from them, and until I do, I'm not sending another check.....

I have another bill I'm paying off too - again, $10-/month until it is paid. I'm pretty sure the law is very similar or the same from state to state.....

Also - just did a little research of Wisconson Laws.....if they continue to harass you - tell them ok, I'll file for bankruptcy and you will get NOTHING!.....see what they have to say about THAT~!
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Last edited by Lisa; 10-25-2010 at 06:13 PM.
10-25-2010, 09:27 PM   #7
Lucy
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True pasobuff. As long as you pay something every month they should not be able to send you to collections.
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10-26-2010, 10:01 AM   #8
Cat-a-Tonic
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Thanks Dusty, Paso, and Lucy. You guys are the best.

Paso, thanks for the information. I have an acquaintance who actually did file for bankruptcy a few years ago to get out of paying her medical bills - she had a liver transplant and got some huge bills for that, and she filed for bankruptcy and still was able to keep her house. So I know that's a possibility, although I'd rather not go there if I don't have to - but I can threaten them with that and see if they call my bluff or not. Good to know that I can keep paying what I can afford per month and legally they can't really come after me.

I feel a bit better about all this today - I mean, I've been paying and I'll continue to pay, so I'm not a deadbeat (even though they made me feel like one yesterday when they said I need to pay more!). I'm trying not to stress about it because I know that'll just make my gut worse (I should tell them that the next time I talk to the billing dept - they better be nice to me or I'll get stressed and flare and have to go back to the doctor and rack up more doctor bills!).
10-26-2010, 10:52 AM   #9
bushydougie
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Cat - I'm so sorry that you are in this position. As if you need this on top of everything else. Never before have I felt so lucky that we have the NHS over here. Yes we pay our taxes towards this but it is no way near the amount you have to pay. (another thing I need to be greatful for!!)
I'm glad you are feeling a bit better about it. I hope they listen to you when you're next in touch with them
10-26-2010, 11:16 AM   #10
Becky
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I do not have advice just want to let you know you are not alone. The hospital I am dealing with is not the most understanding. I told them what I could pay, taht wasnt enough. I had 4 treatments there and thought when I went online to pay it was crediting all. Nope. I had to make 4 payments. So after figuring that all out they said I had to pay more because the amount was higher. After I informed them that no the amount is smaller b/c I have been paying on it for 6 months now they finally agreed to keep it the same.

Just keep paying what you can!
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10-26-2010, 01:21 PM   #11
Cat-a-Tonic
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Sam, you are indeed lucky that you have the NHS there. I have to pay a monthly premium for my health insurance and then pay for whatever medical costs they don't cover - it can be so expensive!

Becky, thanks for comiserating with me. Sorry to hear you are having medical bill issues as well. How weird that they made you pay 4 payments - sounds like they are trying to be more complicated!
10-26-2010, 02:14 PM   #12
Astra
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I feel so lucky too! They have their moments and we slag em off, but Brits have to moan about something! If it's not the NHS, it's the weather, or queueing! lol

Cat, come and live with me huni, but don't bring the cats!
10-26-2010, 02:51 PM   #13
Cat-a-Tonic
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Aw, Joan, what do you have against cats? My husband isn't a cat person either, but the cat has proved to be useful. We used to have a mouse problem in our house, but not anymore! My cat had never even seen a mouse until we bought our house, but she learned how to hunt, and now no more mice in the house!
10-26-2010, 03:10 PM   #14
Astra
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ooo hate meeces too!
I suppose cats are useful for that!

http://www.crohnsforum.com/showthrea...highlight=cats

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I was OSTRACISED!!! ha ha ha
10-26-2010, 03:27 PM   #15
Cat-a-Tonic
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Ha ha ha Joan, I remember that thread. Cats are not the devil incarnate... okay, maybe sometimes they are. My cat can be very naughty when she wants to be. And I suppose I should mention, yes, she did take care of the mouse problem - but she didn't eat all of them, she kept a few dead mice to hide around the house for me to find. One of them ended up in my purse, and it was a purse I don't use every day, so I didn't discover it until probably about a week later! Yuck!!
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