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Spouse requires surgery, questions about delaying payments

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  • Spouse requires surgery, questions about delaying payments

    Hi everyone. My wife, Barbisi on these forums, requires surgery of the left foot. The threat is a bone fracture. If the surgery is not performed, the bone will fracture, and the surgery will be required anyway. Basically they remove the material inside the bone, then fill the void with another (non-growing) material. I emailed the attorney just now, describing the situation. If we do the surgery this year, we pay 20% of the fee. This is an outpatient surgery. If we do the surgery in January, we pay 100% of the contracted rate til we meet the $3000 deductible. I asked the attorney what we need to do, in order to request a delay of payments to the trustee. I don't know the total cost yet; we should know Wednesday. So, I don't know if we need to, or even can, delay the payments by a few months if necessary. Should we consider contacting the mortgage company asking if we could delay a payment on that? That's not a good idea at all, I know. We are only asking about options to pay for this. At this point we can not estimate the cost.

    Has anyone had experience dealing with this scenario? If so please share details regarding your negotiations with the attorney and trustee. And if you have knowledge of foot surgical cost, please share as well. Wouldn't hurt to have a ballpark figure.

    Thank you everyone.

  • #2
    Hi, everyone!
    I have long complained on these forums about my medical bills. Since I last posted, I have had a nerve conduction study in addition to the 4 MRIs for the neck (1) and ankle (3). I was diagnosed with mild carpal syndrome in both hands and ulnar damage in the right elbow. My neck mercifully did not have nerve damage but needs weekly neck decompression therapy for the foreseeable future to reduce swelling and pain caused by a disastrous chiro adjustment in April when my medical nightmare really began. I also have very high body immflamation of a non-specific auto -immune sort and other ankle concerns for which I am currently receiving PT.(all in the same ankle- L)
    I can not wait almost 5 years for this surgery !
    We have been unable to save any money yet because of my ongoing bills (we still owe more than a $1100 to various doctors,etc), plus we have had a sewer bill (almost $300, which must be paid before Jan.1 in full or we are fined heavily) plus reasonable home costs (yard aeration, swamp and sprinkler shutoff - about $175) Our mortgage payment is very high ($2200) and is due very soon.We are not yet behind on anything -I just don't know if we have any options or if we will be part of the statistic who fail to complete a chapter 13.
    I will be immoble on a knee walker or 8 weeks and I have never been laid up for so long so I am concerned for long term pt costs .I can't skimp on care -I need to be able to regain full use of my foot!
    Last edited by Barbisi; 10-30-2017, 03:27 PM.


    • #3
      Ok so here is the response from the attorney regarding our question about skipping payments in order to help pay for this surgery. From posts in this forum we thought there would be flexibility. Does not look to be that way with this trustee.

      I hope the surgery helps <Client> feel better. Unfortunately, you just do not get to skip payments in this situation.

      You are in a 60 month plan. The plan cannot be extended beyond 60 months. If you miss payments, the Trustee will file a Motion to Dismiss. Do your best not to miss any payments. Remember, the Trustee is already very concerned about all of your monthly deductions. I do not want to give them a chance to revisit your situation. I know of at least one recent case where the Trustee is going back and challenging the expenses from the original filing because the debtors are trying to modify their payments.

      Remember, your unsecured creditors are only receiving about 21 cents per dollar of debt.

      You need to figure out a way to make the payment.


      • #4
        Sounds like your Trustee is inflexible. My Trustee had no problem with an abatement on payments, exclusive of the mortgage payment, for a significant event. Maybe you'll need to dismiss and refile. Very generally I agree with the attorney that life happens and you must still deal with a Chapter 13 as if it's mandatory payments (like a mortgage). It is true that many people find that they can't afford a Chapter 13 because of life's little surprises. In the end, you should always choose your health over a piece of property or paying creditors.

        My sympathies indeed.
        Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
        Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
        Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog

        I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.


        • #5
          Thanks justbroke.

          Yeah, 'inflexible' is.... one way of putting it... .

          We will be getting the costs soon. We'll be paying 20% of the costs if we do the surgery this year. Since we found out about this yesterday AM we moved quickly to consider options. The bk payment delay won't work in this case, so on to the next options. We may have to skip payments on other, lower priority bills, then catch up. We wanted to investigate the chap 13 option first.

          We are really not looking forward to this. We'll get a 2nd opinion to check whether a surgery is really necessary. However, with a 'growth' like this we don't want to take chances. It's still gonna be tough for about 8 weeks since Barbisi has to be off the foot. We'll get through it.


          • #6
            Yes, justbroke, it is more than inflexibility - this trustee clearly has it in for us and is ready, unlike the other more reasonable trustees that everyone else seems to have been blessed with, to force us out of the chapter 13 if we dare challenge anything he may still try to do. (He may still try to recoup the $400 he allowed us to keep at confirmation as the lawyer warns.) The only wiggle room we have is the $400 and as of now we owe more than $1100 to the medical bills already.
            This is what Chapter 13 hell looks like!


            • #7
              Chapter 13 Hell continued but with a breather - the foot surgeon has decided to do only a biopsy to determine IF I will need the more complicated and invasive removal of the tumor inside the bone! It sounds like I might be laid up for a much longer time (i.e. six months or more if the real surgery was done). I will be in a boot for 2 weeks and will have swelling and stitches to deal with but may be spared an 8 week or more layup! If however it is malignant , we may be facing an automatic dismissal from this trustee since he is 100% inflexible to any emergencies!
              Can some one on this forum please say a prayer for us to get a break? (No cancer or surgery.) Things are so much rougher and worse then they need to be and all we are trying to do is survive just like every one else in this chapter 13 quagmire!
              Last edited by Barbisi; 11-01-2017, 01:45 PM.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Barbisi View Post
                Can some one on this forum please say a prayer for us to get a break? (No cancer or surgery.) Things are so much rougher and worse then they need to be and all we are trying to do is survive just like every one else in this chapter 13 quagmire!
                Thoughts and prayers for you both as you go through this; hopefully things will turn out positively and there will be no need for the extensive surgery and you can remain in the plan. I am almost two years in now (seems like just yesterday that I filed), and I pray that there are no medical complications that would jeopardize my successful completion of the plan.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Barbisi View Post
                  Can some one on this forum please say a prayer for us to get a break? (No cancer or surgery.) Things are so much rougher and worse then they need to be and all we are trying to do is survive just like every one else in this chapter 13 quagmire!
                  Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
                  Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
                  Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog

                  I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.


                  • #10
                    Thank you, VolFan for your kind and compassionate words and encouragement during these uncertain times.I hope too that you remain healthy and you are able to finish out your Chapter 13.!
                    And thanks to you justbroke for corroborating my own view of the trustee as inflexible - I suspect both you and LadyInTheRed had more reasonable trustees who worked with you to ensure you had every chance to complete your plans.
                    It's hard to succeed when the trustee is hung up on the percentage you are paying back,even in the face of amply documented medical expenses. (The lawyer is actually wrong about the payback amount -if we are allowed to complete the plan as it is now, we would payback $34,000 out of $109,000 which would amount to about 31% (or 31 cents on the dollar.) Of course ,we filed with $134,000 of debt (all but $2000 unsecured.) Four credit cards or about $25,000 , did not file a proof of claim and were excluded from the final total in the repayment plan .
                    Maybe that's why he wants us to fail!


                    • #11
                      Thanks VolFan and justbroke.
                      The biopsy procedure is much cheaper, which is a good thing. It did not make sense to do a biopsy and surgery all at the same time since we did not have a clear understanding of the tumor, the location, the complexity of the surgery, the expense, and recovery. That's kind of a shoot first, ask questions later approach. Not trying to self diagnose, but I did do a quick Google search to find that bone tumors in the foot are rare, and those that occur are most often benign. Given there are no symptoms, no pain, no discomfort, no redness, no swelling, no Nothing except for the presence of the growth itself and the thinning cortex (outer bone layer, most likely due to age), I feel there is a very low probability we will have to deal with this beyond the biopsy. I am not entirely sure we 'just got lucky by finding this'; I suspect it's been there a very long time, especially considering the history of this particular foot/ankle (numerous injuries - I keep telling barbisi to stop kicking people in the head - aim for the gut - it's softer... ). The concern is due to the cortex (outer bone layer) thinning, which presents a risk of fracture. We will most likely have to deal with this next year or later, if at all. At least we can do this biopsy this year since we already met the deductible, and we will have knowledge of the risk and expectations moving forward.


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