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$1800 ER bill while in CH13 Plan

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  • $1800 ER bill while in CH13 Plan

    Does anyone have any suggestions on how to handle this?

    I just received an $1800 bill from an emergency room visit for my daughter. I'm 1 year into my 5-year CH13 plan.

    Atty says to contact the hospital to try to get them to lower payment, but will request a "suspension" of CH13 payments if they won't budge. Has anyone successfully lowered a medical bill by negotiating with a hospital? My impression is that requesting a suspension is a last resort kind of thing.


  • #2
    Please note that bills incurred during a Chapter 13 are one's own responsibility and you will have to find a way to hopefully pay out the bill to whoever handles the billings for the ER. As your attorney stated, he will see if the trustee will agree to maybe a month or two suspension of your Plan payments to pay this bill and add those payments on the end of your Chapter 13 payment schedule. Unexpected bills such as this if one has no savings in place, can really be an issue. During our Chapter 13, we saved anything we could because there is always something that is going to happen - car repairs, applicance repairs, house repairs, new tires for the vehicles, etc., etc. Best of luck to you...
    Filed 5 Year Chapter 13: April 2002
    Early Buy-Out: April 2006
    Discharge: August 2006

    "A credit card is a snake in your pocket"


    • #3
      Yes - I never pay the full amount. I always call, cash in hand, and offer some X% of the bill as payment in full. I can usually get it to 40/50% since the markup is outrageous. But you have to be prepared to pay it immediately right there on the phone. You can't negotiate and make payments.
      19% dividend


      • #4
        no insurance?

        Keep On Smilin'


        • #5
          keepsmiling - This is the remaining ER bill *after* insurance. It seems to me that my options are limited. I may have to ask for a suspension for a while. My CH13 payments are large (~$1500/month), so a single month suspension would do it. However, I don't know if that would include re-evaluation of expenses vs. income, which I would like to avoid.

          Flamingo - FYI - I did save some for medical, but not $1800. Overall, I have stuck to my budget pretty religiously, and I did have some money set aside for other emergencies. In fact, I just had a $540 plumbing bill (raining in the kitchen), and a $525 heating bill (it got cold and the boiler did not want to turn on - needed a new pump). I paid those bills, but there's not a lot left...


          • #6
            This happened to us a couple of years back ( we owed a DR $ 1,000) I called the billing office (Dr's office) and explained what amount we could pay. They were not very happy with the amount I promised to pay every month , but when I explained I was currently in a Ch 13, they changed their mind very fast. Talk to the billing office and explain your situation..alot of times DR's and hospitals try to scare you into paying a huge payment..Be honest with them..tell them everything you pay out each month ( house payment, lights, water..etc) Good Luck..and don't panic..everything will work out!!


            • #7
              junque - listen, this isn't going to be "easy" but I would call the billing number from whomever sent you the bill. I would tell them your situation...don't have shall I say it...overly exact...just say you're in bankruptcy, and you can pay $50/ more - you WILL get pushback, threats, we can't do that, blah blah blah. [QUESTION - CAN YOU OFFER THEM SAY $X HUNDRED TO SETTLE?? IF YES, WHOLE OTHER CONVERSATION].

              If they put you on hold etc, come back with a counter offer, see if that's ok that is something you can pay...

              If not say, sorry, I can't - but I'll be sending you $50/month...

              So let's say you can't come to an agreement - send them what you can per month, etc.

              You'll get at least three more bills/months before collections...

              Then collections will call (we know the drill :-) -so by now it's four to six months (and payments later).

              Sigh - call the collections, tell them the same thing - hang up...if needed.


              By the time anything can go down, you'll likely have paid most of the bill...

              (FAR easier said that done ;-)

              [BY THE WAY - are you sure ins co paid correctly, everything correct with the bill??]


              • #8
                I had the same thing happen to me, like 4 days after my confirmation hearing. Although, my emergency visit co-pay is only 250, did they have to admit your daughter? That will be outside of the co-pay and under your general deductible, etc. Which is what happend to us. They ended up admitting my daughter for 4 days ( she had an upper extremity blood clot). That easily ate up my 2,500 deductible per person that I have and then the insurance kicked in 80/20 upto 4K max out of pocket per individual. So i have a 4,250 bill now. She is going to require surgery on her shoulder to correct a defect that is causing the blood clot. The fun part is that they couldn't get it scheduled until Jan 3. Yep, just 3 days after all my deductible/max out of pocket resets. So i'll have another bill for 4K right at the new yr leaving me with 8,250.

                My lawyer told me I had 2 options. First is, that you can just add the bill to your bankruptcy as a creditor. However, since the bill was incurred after filing, they cannot be compelled to file their claim to be included, and they must be paid back 100%, but i do believe they are not allowed to attempt collection until the 13 is over, but they can apply interest a fees during the time.

                The other option is to do what others are saying here and which is what i will be doing. I'm going to pay the first bill in January with my tax return, luckily there is no court order to intercept or send in my tax return. This will cover most of the first bill. For the second bill i will get next month, i'm just going to the use the amount of money that is the IRS standard for my bankruptcy to pay them back. I have a family of 5 and my monthly budget allowed for me is 300 a month, so i will just tell them i'm in bankruptcy and only allowed to spend 300 a month on medical bills under court order and see what they say.

                and as a disclaimer i'm just repeating what my lawyer had told me and i might of misunderstood and/or this is totally different in your state, so don't quote me


                • #9
                  Is the hospital public or private?

                  Reason why I ask is because it will matter on how they handle their payments.

                  Some private hospitals will say the min. they will take is 50 dollars a month, while some public hospitals will take 10 dollars a month. I would explain to them about what is going on and tell them that it was for your daughter.

                  Also another thing to think about that some hospitals do is give a different price to people who have insurance and a different price to people who do not have insurance. I still have about 4K in medical bills that I racked up when I went to the ER for my heart last may. I have been out of BK for a little over a year. I keep petitioning them to lower the amount owed, because I did not have much done. So far they have dropped the amount from 10K down to 4K. When the amount gets down to 1K or less we will work out something then. Basically an x-ray and bloodwork should not cost 10K, nor should it cost 4K or even 1K. The doctor can normally do these things at his/her office for a lot less, but being the hospital is considered private they are trying to get me to pay outrageous prices. They are the only hospital close by and when you are having 24 hours worth of chest pains you are not thinking to go down the road 100 miles. Top it all off they never figured out what was going on with me.
                  Chapter 7 filed on 4/23/2010
                  341 meeting on 5/28/2010
                  Discharged on 8/19/2010


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