I got served with a summons to court yesterday for an unpaid hospital stay back in 2012 for $5,000. I’m going thru my paperwork and I can’t figure it out. The stack of bills is about 2 inches thick. And I never got any notice from the collection agency that I owed anything!?! You’d think they’d be sending me monthly bills or something. I’m trying not to freak out, I’ve got 30 days to respond since they left it on the door and didn’t hand it to me personally. So I’ll start by calling Legal Aid Society on Monday and see if they’ll take my case. I’ll also call my care coordinator for advice. I can’t afford a lawyer and can’t do it myself. I can’t afford to pay the bill, maybe if we work out a payment plan as I’m on disability and get food stamps. Then I was reading online about how in court you might have to list your assets and they could seize them for payment. I don’t want to lose my house or have to borrow against it. I don’t really have anything of value other than my car which i just bought last Dec. If I have to go to court maybe I should not take my meds and they’ll take pity on me.
so sorry to hear this is happening to you. i hope legal aid can help you on monday. i should think they could. and definitely without you needing to go off your medications.
best wishes to you.
Well, upon further investigation. It seems I did get 1 notification back in 2013. But I was confused and thought it was with another bill and had been paid, so I had called them told them I paid it. They said ok and told me to disregard the bill then. I had 4 hospitalizations in 2012 so its easy to get them all confused. And without insurance, I made too much money to be eligible for medicaid, didn’t qualify for charity assistance. Wait, no…Actually I did have health insurance it just didn’t cover mental health stuff. At least it covered the ED visit.
Certain things are exempt from collections & judgments. depends on state but your home unless you have a mortgage to a bank they can foreclose. they can also put a lien on your home.
Usually they can’t touch govt benefits…SSI, SSDI, VA, etc.
They can garnish up to 25% of your regular income from work or other sources, so 75% of that is exempt. granted 25% is a huge hit though.
Inspect your bill closely. There are often charges for things not done on hospital bills. If you could find a bunch of those phantom charges they might take pity on you if you presented them in court. If nothing else, you won’t have to pay those false charges. I would think that Medicaid or Medicare would pay most of your bill. See if you can get any help from them. If not those two agencies, maybe you can find another agency that will help you.
I got a couple hospital bills several years ago for services I was POSITIVE I had never used. They were only for $300 or $400 apiece. I called the hospital and after talking to a few people it turns out the bills were for someone else who had my same name.Yes, it really happens. Needless to say I did not have to pay them.
So Legal Aid won’t take me on as a client because I have too many assets even though my monthly income meets the requirements. They referred me to the state bar assoc to find an attorney for a $35 consultation.
The bar assoc was no help at all. So I randomly started calling attorney’s out of the phone book. No one does debt collection in my area and would offer no advice. So I’m on my own. I think I’ve got it figured out. I’ve got to go to the courthouse and file a paper making a defense. One will be Defendant is low income and the hospital never offered financial aid. The second I am unsure of, but I figure it won’t hurt me. Defendant had diminished capacity to understand the nature of the bills or its consequences. So then I file the papers and get a court date, serve a copy to the debt collector and bring proof of this to court.
I haven’t told my parents yet. I want to try and resolve this on my own, be an adult without them bailing me out all the time. I told my boyfriend and he didn’t express any emotion about it, which is good. I expected him to blow up and be angry at me for letting this happen. So, I’ve got him to talk with this about at least. Anyway enough venting here, thanks for listening.
Good luck Skims…I think this will work out for you.
I finally got thru to an attorney and got some advice. Since the debt was so small the attorney’s fees would be to expensive. I called the debt collection agency and reached a settlement, and worked out a payment plan. Whew, its all taken care of! What a relief. When I told my mom she said I’ve come a long way in a year, to be able to handle this on my own. And she said she was proud of me. That’s something I’ve never heard out of her mouth, it must have hurt her!