In 2011 ( I was 21) I went to the hospital with a kidney stone. My mother took me and was told i would be eligible for HCAP. ( I was working with no insurance). Because I was completely out of it, I had no knowledge on how this was being paid for besides the fact that my mother told me I was covered by HCAP.
I got married the next month to a US Sailor and moved across country. 4 years later I receive a letter from a debt collector telling me I owed them $7,000 because of the medical care I had. I had never been notified about this debt until 4 years later. When I called the hospital they told me they didn’t see my application for HCAP in the system and I would have been eligible up to 3 years since the incident. Ironically I didn’t know i had debt until 4 years. The debt collector is treating to take my husbands pay, put a lien on our house and even take my husbands taxes. I am a stay at home mom and I do not work. I requested validity of the bill and they told me that they do NOT have to send me any documentation to validate it at all. One guy i spoke with even cursed at me. I was told that i MUST pay in full… and they can NOT negotiate with me.
My question is: would it be worth it going to base legal and having them guide me on my rights.. what i can do legally, what i am legally responsible to pay? I want to know if i am eligible for any sort of financial assistance or if they can help negotiate the price down?
It sounds to me as if the collector is telling you a series of misstatements or half-truths. According to the Hospital Care Assistance Program (HCAP) you have “up to 3 years after they are notified about it. Patients should contact the hospital’s billing department about prior bills, and ask to apply for HCAP – even if the bill has already been sent to collections.” – Source
It sounds to me as if the debt collector is violating a number of Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) regulations and you should talk to base legal about this or an attorney who is licensed in the state where you are living. One place to find someone is through ConsumerAdvocates.org. I think most attorneys would salivate to take on this case.
Until you speak to either your base legal adviser or civilian attorney, do not admit you owe the debt. The last thing you want to do is start the statute of limitation clock over again by accident.