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How do I even begin to pay unexpected medical bills? – Elliot

I work in the construction industry as a contractor and in 2008/2009 my average annual income went from $60,000-$80,000 to $24,000-$32,000.

During this tough adjustment I managed to hold onto my house and car but lost my health insurance in order to keep my kids insured, my retirement savings and racked up $90,000 in college loans putting two kids through college as a single parent.

Until this year I managed to juggle and keep my head above water. Three months ago I had an emergency appendectomy without complications. For one night in the hospital and one hour in the operating room my bills total around $41,000; more than I made in the entire year.

Apparently I don’t qualify for any assistence programs in my state but honestly I don’t know how to find even an extra $100 per month for these new bills. I don’t expect the construction industry to recover anytime soon.

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In ordinary times I could possibly have refinanced my house but real estate values have plumetted around here and no banks are lending. Even if they were, after three years of uneven payments I doubt if I could qualify.

Any suggestions?

Elliot

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This is information that was submitted by a third party and not generated by GetOutOfDebt.org or Steve Rhode.
  • Pamela

    Eliot, please do reach out to the providers directly (the hospital billing office, the doctor’s office business manager) since there is a real opportunity to set up a payment plan with them directly that fits your needs.  They will respect your situation — and your desire to pay your bills — and will work with you.  Good luck!

  • http://www.medicalinsuranceclaimhelp.com/ Sunni Patterson

    One of the first steps is to contact your medical provider
    and let them know about your situation. Most people in the medical industry
    understand that this kind of scenario is very common. In order to handle it,
    providers are putting discounts and payment plan options in place. Many
    patients who can’t afford a lot of payments up front can work out some kind of
    basic plan just by talking to their provider. If you need a little bit more
    help, there are patient advocacy groups and medical debt counseling services in
    most parts of the country. It’s important to be up front with providers and
    others about exactly how your budget has been impacted and how you plan to pay
    down debt over time. You’re on the right track with trying to come up with a
    monthly payment amount that you can afford; a lot of the rest of the equation
    involves negotiating with your medical offices. Even the smallest amount paid
    toward a hospital debt can make a big difference, especially if you are in
    close consultation with hospital or facility reps, because when you get right
    down to it, most providers know that many patients won’t be able to pay a lot
    up front.

  • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

    Elliot,

    Millions of others in the U.S. have fallen into the same pit. The irony is that the self-insured in America are charged hire rates for medical services than those that have insurance. It has to do with the rates the insurance companies have negotiated versus non-discounted fees. 

    Medical debts are one of the leading causes of bankruptcy and if the hospital is not willing to work with you or you simply can’t afford the debt then maybe is a real option for you.

    I’d start with using the free How to Get Out of Debt Calculator to review your options.

  • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

    Elliot,

    Millions of others in the U.S. have fallen into the same pit. The irony is that the self-insured in America are charged hire rates for medical services than those that have insurance. It has to do with the rates the insurance companies have negotiated versus non-discounted fees. 

    Medical debts are one of the leading causes of bankruptcy and if the hospital is not willing to work with you or you simply can’t afford the debt then maybe is a real option for you.

    I’d start with using the free How to Get Out of Debt Calculator to review your options.

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