Get Out of Debt Guy - Steve Rhode

We Can’t Afford the $42K Life Flight Air Ambulance Bill

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Question:

Dear Steve,

My husband and I have just been stuck with a devastating $42,000 life flight bill. What should we do?

I found you on Facebook, and was hoping you might be able to provide some advice in a time of hopelessness and desperation.

My husband and I have been working to get out of debt for the past 4 years, and by the grace of God were able to get almost all debts paid off, build credit, and just bought our very first home together this summer.

At the beginning of July, my husband had an accident and had to be airlifted to the hospital. I had just switched jobs, and the accident happened right in the transition during those few months when we didn’t have health insurance.

We were stuck with a devastating $42,000 life flight bill for a 10 minute ride, $6,500 ER bill, $2,000 radiology bill, and $800 ambulance bill. We only make $60k a year between the two of us. Should we file bankruptcy? Please help. God bless you.

Meghan

Answer:

Dear Meghan,

Medical debt is entirely out of control. It’s a mess. It’s tough enough when you go to the hospital to even have a clue if the person walking into your hospital room is part of your insurance network. Hospital bills are divided up into services provided by the hospital or provided by an outside business contractor.

Having a serious accident and needing a helicopter medical evacuation leaves the injured person at the pure chance of whoever flys in. The victim has no control over how much the service they didn’t order, will cost.

I can give you two answers. Both are correct.

Answer 1: You can contact the air ambulance company and attempt to negotiate a lesser balance. However, even at half the price, it may still be way out of your ability to repay a bill you didn’t get a chance to weigh in on.

Here is what Dave Ramsey said to someone who had a big life flight bill.

Answer 2: The situation sucks. Dave Ramsey’s answer is unrealistic. His avoidance of bankruptcy in this situation is ridiculous. I just don’t get his logic of you should avoid bankruptcy but it is okay to offer the creditor 25 percent of what is owed and tell them to take that as payment in full. How can it be okay to not pay 75 percent of the bill but it is horrible to not pay 100 percent?

Let’s look at facts. The $51,300 bill was beyond your control. You can’t let a past financial misfortune destroy your financial future. I think you should find a great bankruptcy attorney, file bankruptcy and get the fresh start the law allows you to have.

There is no apparent math solution that will let you manage the total debt from the accident. Once you file bankruptcy, focus on building your emergency fund and try to build a financial safety net for future surprises.


Big Hug!
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