I Survived to Be Hounded By Creditors!

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Okay I have been pretty upset about this topic for a while so I decided to blog about it, that usually helps. I had insurance when I got sick. However, my insurance quickly dropped me as soon as they discovered I had cancer. They cried, "Pre-existing condition" as quickly and loudly as they could. I was too busy fighting for my life to start fighting the insurance companies so they won.

What does this mean for me? Well it means I have thousands of dollars worth of medical debt. This debt is a constant reminder of my cancer. It is a constant stress for me as well. How in the world am I going to pay all this debt off? I don't work and certainly don't feel well enough to start working anytime soon. I also get constant harassing phone calls from creditors I can't pay. I've been told by these creditors that just because I had cancer doesn't mean I have the right to avoid my responsibilities...WOW! I'm not sure how they expect me to even begin paying them off.

Last Friday i got a reminder in the mail that I owed one hospital 17k and today I opened a piece of mail saying I owed a different hospital 31k. This brings me to tears! I feel like I fought so hard for my life and now my life consists of feeling sick and owing everyone money. Its seems like all that matters is the money. They don't care that I had no choice, that it was either go to the hospital or die. I don't mean to sound dramatic but sometimes I wonder if it was all worth it!?!

I'm shocked at how cold and calculating our medical system can be. Im devastated that my energy and drive must be directed at fighting these credit companies. And it saddens me to think of the thousands of other cancer patients who must battle cancer and creditors!

I'm at a loss for words and ideas. Not sure how to deal with this right now so if anyone has ideas, suggestions or advice I would greatly appreciate it!

14 comments:

Dom said...

Let me preface this comment by stating that Meaghan is one of my closest friends. I visited her in Massachusetts a month after she left Florida for chemo and radiation treatment. When I saw her for the first time she was so frail and in so much pain, the thought that she might not make it became real. It was devastating.

On my visit I can remember the insurance company and the hospital harassing Meaghan for their money. Meaghan could hardly walk, couldn’t eat, was literally fighting for her life and these bastards couldn’t even wait for her to survive before the calls started! My Grandmother (who I lost to cancer) went through the same thing while she was getting her treatments. It is truly disgusting that our country treats the sick this way. America needs to grow a soul. Let’s hope Obama makes good on his promises.

Christa said...

Meaghan

If you have someone to work with you, as an advocate, that may be the best route for you. Dealing with medical bills on your own may add unneeded stress as you try to regain your life.

Many creditors will accept payment plans over time. Please feel free to email me at christa at giggle on dot com and I may be able to provide tips.

I have been in the receivables industry for 9 years (not medical) and also dealt with medical billing problems 10 years ago.

I know it is frustrating but there is always hope.

Anonymous said...

Talk with the hospital sometimes they do things like a payscale thing going on what you do make. I've had 2k bills droped too $100 because my income isn't a whole lot. my bills from the hosptial was from kidney stones that would land me 10k-25k bills just for a 1 night stay in observations and surgery each time. I'm scared for when i get my blood work back telling me if i carry the gene that makes caner hereditary because I still have no insurance and the state tells me what I do make is too much to get the state insurance to poss help with all the testing I will have to go thru to ensure we are able to catch the cancer if I do get it. :( good luck tho!

Anonymous said...

Hay Meaghan,
Long time stalker/first time commenter. I had to comment on this one.... forget them! it is so not worth the stress. If i remember correctly from a somewhat similar situation with medical\hospital bills after a illness(just not the cancer part) they can not do a darn thing to you other than harrass you. they can not put it against your credit ratting, they can only charge a very small amount of interest, they can not put a lein against anything you own, and i dont think they can garnish your wages when you go back to work. like i said i believe these are the laws when it comes to medical service. check it out and if so and they want to continue to spend the man hours calling you, tell them to have a bright sun shinning day and talk to you tomorrow!
Laura

Tara said...

Wow I feel your pain (somewhat) because I am in Canada and OH SO THANKFUL for our Universal Health care system, I was just about to start paying back my Student Loans when I got my diagnosis, so now I have them sending me harrassing letters and getting rude phone calls demanding money :(.
I owe about 38k on my Student loans and have NO CLUE how the hell I'm going to even begin to pay those now! I've just had to quit working (and even when I WAS working, paying almost $600 in Student loans in addition to "normal everyday living expenses" was going to be difficult to say the least :(.

I hope it all works out for you; maybe we should just run away to a Buddhist temple in the mountains somewhere in the middle of nowhere ;).
((hug))

Judy said...

This issue gets me so worked up. I can't count the people I know whose lives have been hurt, ruined, ended by insurance companies refusals to pay or cover someone. A friend had a baby born with a problem of some sort, and can't get insurance - "pre-existing condition." (The pre-existing condition was being born, apparently.) My dad might still be here today (and get to know his grandsons) if the insurance situation had been different. Instead, my mother could not accept a NICKEL AN HOUR raise (which amounted to about $20/month) because it would have cost him his medical coverage.

We had to move to another state, leave my daughter behind with her father, leave my extended family, because the insurance available to us was so expensive and so awful.

I wish I had advice for you. Instead, just sympathy, empathy, and commiseration. I pray (and I'm not a religious person) that the incoming administration might be able to do something about this. With Obama's personal experience watching what his mother went through, you would think he would understand how important this is.

Good luck.

Jenny said...

I have ovarian cancer, and have been fighting to get my insurance company to cover tests and procedures. I waited 9 months for treatment because of insurance issues and I do fear what waiting has done to me. However, I am grateful that I have not been dropped, and I know financially things could be worse. In New Jersey we have charity care for those who are uninsured and have little or no income. Also there is a state law that as long as you have made arrangements to pay $1.00 per month you can not be harassed. I suggest looking into the laws in Massachusetts. You can call the hospitals' billing department and ask what is the minimum payment you can make per month. They will tell you what thier policy is which may or may not coincide with state law. Most hospitals have a patient advocates. My experience with them has been that they advocate more for the hospital than the patient, but I would try speaking with them.

Brandy said...

I know the word 'bankruptcy' has a really bad sound to it but sometimes it's really in your best interest. After just a few years you get a second chance. You can call one of those credit counseling places and they will straight up tell you if you should file bankruptcy after asking you about your debt and income. If you really can't stomach that then I'd do what someone else suggested and just pay them maybe $10 a month and forget about it because medical bills don't generally charge interest and as long as you're paying something they can't harass you.

Grand Pooba said...

I used to work for an insurance company and it is seriously a joke! I would always tell the patients that as long as the doctors would bill under certain codes and write a letter stating not a prior condition than it would get paid. But if you don't call, claims does nothing for you. The more you call, the more leniant the company became. But I don't know if that is true for all insurances!

Good luck Meaghan!

Joni said...

Hey Meaghan, I agree with looking into hospital patient care funds. I recently received bills for almost $400. (which is a drop in the bucket compared to yours!) I called the hospital and was sent paperwork to fill out. They do ask for a ton of personal info, however, it's well worth the time if it reduces the bills. The person on the phone said they reduce the bill based upon your income/debt. Yes, they actually take into consideration your monthly costs for everything from rent/mortgage to groceries and copays.

Just look at your statements. They will bill the ins co. like $10 grand and the ins co says 'no, here's 1 grand' and the bill is settled!! It amazes me.

It only takes a few minutes to call and ask what is available. Even if you think you don't qualify. Good luck hon!

Wendy said...

Insurance can be so pointless sometimes. It seems like often when someone needs it the most is when they abandon the person in need or will only pay a certain amount. If you owe three million dollars and the insurance company only pays two, it's like having no insurance at all. One million or three, it's still more than almost everyone can afford. When it comes to medical bills, every amount they come up with is far two high for the average American to even comprehend.

That's the situation my parents were in and my mom was only in the hospital for three months because her oncologist refused to listen to anyone when we said the chemo was too extreme. Sadly, my mom lost the battle, not with cancer, but with her treatment that made all digestion utterly impossible. But, my dad still gets those bills for the bad oncology that killed his wife.

DysFUNctional Mom said...

OMG this makes me so mad for you!!

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