Medical Bills and Collection

Updated on October 05, 2008
A.H. asks from Allen, TX
9 answers

3 weeks before giving birth to my son my insurance changed(by my employers, had no say since it's fully covered by them) and I ended up with lots of medicalls bills(unexpected) and I never or could not save anymore than I could for my maternity leave. We also have a disputed bill from cirro energy for $900 (yes i typed the right numbers!!):thank god i switch to a different electric provider), so that and the medicall bills that have been coming in I am overwhelmed to say the least. We are on one income until I go back to work at the end of December. We do not have any extra money to pay for the medical bills or the electric bill and I know eventually the bills will go to collection agencies.
My questions is how do I deal with collection agencies (never dealt with them)and will this really harm my credit (which is really good now). I have tried to set up payment with some of the bills but the monthly payment they are wanting i cannot afford and they will not budge. One of the reps just told me to wait until it goes to collection they might be able to lower the payment plan.
Please help, I really don't want to mess my credit up if I just ignore these bills, but i really don't have the extra money to pay these people.

*****I just wanted to add that I did call each account as soon as i got all these bills in the mail, but the lowest payment they want to set me up for is $75.00 a month(for each account, so far there are 4 not including Cirro Energy). They will not budge and I don't want to tell them yes when i know i cannot afford that amount for each's just way to high.

What can I do next?

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answers from Dallas on

As long as you send them something, they cannot send you to collections. They will try to scare you and intimidate you-DONT let them! Also, tell them that you have sent what you could, will continue to do so and then just let them go-they will try to give you the run around don't stand for it. HTH, keep your head up and btw, Congratulations on your little boy.



answers from Dallas on

Hello A.,

are there any credit management agencies (like a christian organization)

I googled "christian financial advice"
here are a couple of the links. before you give out any personal info, make sure it's a reputable place.

Good luck and congratulations on the birth of your new baby.



answers from Dallas on

Have you called the insurance commissioner? I don't think it's legal to change the coverage on a pregnancy. It's pre-existing condition. If you don't fight it though, they will be glad to let you think you "can't" fight it.

I would sure investigate whether this actually should have fallen on you.



answers from Dallas on

I am so sorry that you're going through this. I can totally relate. I was hospitalized for 6 weeks last summer and then the baby spent 8 days in the NICU. I am still trying to pay off medical bills. In my experience with previous surgeries (my husband and daughter) the hospital sent me to collections after 3 months. They wanted all $1000 right away. I made several attempts to set up a payment plan with them however they were unwilling to work with me. That being said, the collection agency was very willing to work with us. In fact, we paid $25/month. Very reasonable. In regards to my medical bills from last year. The hospital were I was had a charity application that I filled out. They paid for 50% of my bill and 100% of my son's. The other bills; anesthesia, pediatrician, neonalogist etc.. were also negotiable. I called the business office and asked if they could give me a discount. Often if I was able to pay 50% right then, they would forgive the rest. So, all of that being said, do your best but don't lose your house over medical bills. If collection agencies start harassing you then get their address and write them a letter stating that all communication with you is to be in writing. there is no longer a need to call (your phone number). this is your legal requirement of notification and any further contact made by phone is considered harassment as defined by the law and legal action will be taken against (name of business). Yes, I've had to write this letter. But it works. As far as the energy company..we had a whoppin' bill of $500 this summer. couldn't pay it. they allowed us to pay it over a period of 4 months. it added about $125/month to our bill but it kept the power from getting turned off. I hope that my rambling response is able to give you the ability to look at this situation differently and that you'll find some comfort in knowing that other people have experienced the same thing.
Congrats on your new baby!! Enjoy being home with your family:-}



answers from Dallas on

besides the cirro bill, as long as you send the medical bill company something (anything)regularly they cannot send you to collections as you are showing you are making an effort to repay. the calls and letters won't stop but at least you're trying. it would be better to show as a slow pay on your credit report than collections. good luck.



answers from Tyler on

As an employer I know that if you did not have a lapse in medical coverage for more than 90 days your new insurance legally cannot consider you pre-existing. Your medical bills should have been covered by the insurance company.


answers from Dallas on

I have not had to deal with this personally and I admire you for trying to stay a step ahead.

It sounds like you did the right thing by letting these people know your $$ crunch but that is not enough.

How about making a deal with them to pay as much as you can (your terms not theirs). They will at least be getting some form of payment per month vs nothing. Many people are offering nothing right far as paying off their monthly bills. I think they will budge at a point and the $ amount you are getting right now from them is just a beginning negotiating point to see how much you really will pay them per month.

Don't accept the "no" from the first few people you talk to. Keep callling back until you get the anser you need. Talk to supervisors, etc. I do this with airlines all the time when hubby needs to change a flight and I am told NO. Keep calling back...someone will have a heart and help.

They need people like you who are willing to cover their own expenses but within reason with the economics of today.

Best wishes to you and your family.



answers from Dallas on

I agree with TF. I am a contract negotiator with a major insurer. Everything is negotiable. You can ask for a manager and may even be able to negotiate off the total price also as well as payment plans.



answers from Dallas on

I may be wrong here, but I thought medical bills don't affect your credit score, so I'd pay a minimal amount to the medical bills and tackle the electric one first. I don't know if this is an option, but I got hit with a $900 medical bill this past month. I borrowed the money from my parents and will make small payments to them until our tax refund comes in and I can pay them off in full.

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