Devastating Medical Bills


S

Susan Merryweather

My husband recently had open heart surgery from which we incurred
significant medical debt. The total cost was a little over $160,000
spread over 9 different institutions. We did not (still do not) have
medical insurance nor can we afford it. We have just been granted
disability (my husband had to retire early at 62 due to his
condition), but insurance does not kick in for a few more months.


We have worked all our lives and have excellent credit (for now); we
need to decide how to proceed with this overwhelming obligation.

I have been paying $20 a month to each institution which comes to
$180/ month. We are on a very limited income and this is a very
significant amount of money for us. The hospital was generous enough
to write off 80% of the bills, but we are still in a position we
cannot afford. They recently told me if I don’t increase payments to
1000/month they will turn us into collections.


Assets
• IRA/Retirement ($28,000)
• Income (social security)
• Homes
o We have two houses (one inherited) in need of significant repair.
We are in the process of consolidating the situation, but don’t want
to make a decision that could negatively influence our position. Both
homes are valued at a total of $55,000 ($20,000 + $35,000).
• Savings Accounts
o $4,500
• Other: We will receive one more check ($20,000) from an inheritance
(trust) that will run out next year.


Could someone PLEASE offer some advice and/or point me in the right
direction so I better understand our options?

Which assets can they take from us? Are we going to lose our homes?
Can they garnish our IRA’s and/or trust?

Any information or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you very much!!!

Sincerely

Susan
 
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N

Naughtius

My husband recently had open heart surgery from which we incurred
significant medical debt.  The total cost was a little over $160,000
spread over 9 different institutions.  We did not (still do not) have
medical insurance nor can we afford it.  We have just been granted
disability (my husband had to retire early at 62 due to his
condition), but insurance does not kick in for a few more months.

We have worked all our lives and have excellent credit (for now); we
need to decide how to proceed with this overwhelming obligation.

I have been paying $20 a month to each institution which comes to
$180/ month.  We are on a very limited income and this is a very
significant amount of money for us.  The hospital was generous enough
to write off 80% of the bills, but we are still in a position we
cannot afford.  They recently told me if I don’t increase payments to
1000/month they will turn us into collections.

Assets
•     IRA/Retirement ($28,000)
•     Income (social security)
•     Homes
o       We have two houses (one inherited) in need of significant repair.
We are in the process of consolidating the situation, but don’t want
to make a decision that could negatively influence our position. Both
homes are valued at a total of $55,000 ($20,000 + $35,000).
•     Savings Accounts
o       $4,500
•     Other: We will receive one more check ($20,000) from an inheritance
(trust) that will run out next year.

Could someone PLEASE offer some advice and/or point me in the right
direction so I better understand our options?
This is The Best Advice *I* can Offer... And I think it's Probably
The Best Advice You can Get... Here or Anywhere Else *Other Than* The
Law Office of an Attorney who *Specializes* in Just Your Sort of Legal
Problem...

Thus: BOTH you and your Husband should STOP Wracking Yourselves
with WORRY... It's THE WORST THING You can do to Yourselves AND it
WON'T Help In The Least...

THEN: Stop Expending Effort looking fo *Meaningful* Aid in
NewsGroups... Your Problem Are SERIOUS and You NEED To Pick Up Your
Yellow Pages and look Thru the Headings titled something like
"Attorneys: Specializing In Social Security Claims"... "Attorneys:
Specializing In Bankruptcy".... and so forth... Also consider
Contacting Your State Bar Association for help in Finding an Attorney
who Specializes in "Social Security/Disability/Bankruptcy"...

The Initial Consultation is almost certainly going to be FREE, AND
The Fee of whatever Attorney You Choose *May Well* be Paid out of
Federal Gov't Funds set aside for just that purpose...
Which assets can they take from us?
UNless You're in Colorado, *I* can only guess, with at best, a 1 in
50 chance of being *Accurate*, let alone Correct, what "assets" could
be "taken"...

Fairly Poor Odds...
 Are we going to lose our homes?
Well... NOT Likely, On The Condition that You Get To a Lawyer
_Quickly_...
Can they garnish our IRA’s and/or trust?
Going Out On a Limb on this one... NOT Likely *Anyone* can "Attach"
any "Retirement" Income... "Trusts" I'm Less Sure of, but it's NOT a
Sure & Certain Thing that "Trust Income" can be Attached As a Matter
Ordinary Practice...
Any information or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Ok... Done as much as I can... GET To a LAwyer... Good Luck...
Thank you very much!!!

Sincerely

Susan
Naughtius "Someday, We'll Have Single-Payer Coverage" Maximus
 
T

Twayne

In
Susan Merryweather said:
My husband recently had open heart surgery from which we
incurred significant medical debt. The total cost was a
little over $160,000 spread over 9 different institutions.
We did not (still do not) have medical insurance nor can we
afford it. We have just been granted disability (my
husband had to retire early at 62 due to his condition),
but insurance does not kick in for a few more months.
"we"? Do you mean you are both disabled?
We have worked all our lives and have excellent credit (for
now); we need to decide how to proceed with this
overwhelming obligation.

I have been paying $20 a month to each institution which
comes to $180/ month. We are on a very limited income and
this is a very significant amount of money for us. The
hospital was generous enough to write off 80% of the bills,
but we are still in a position we cannot afford. They
recently told me if I don’t increase payments to 1000/month
they will turn us into collections.
That's pretty much a standard practice I've discovered. It's
not meaningful yet, so try not to worry too much about it
until it actually happens. The "process" ruined my credit too,
but I don't know that I really care. I'm still, luckily, debt
free and am not likely to be buying anything more expensive
than maybe a used car during what's left of my life. I
certainly won't be buying realestate or anything large.
....

You REALLY should not be putting things that lean toward your
net worth out in public! Not only does it give trollers and
jealous people something to bitch at you about, but it
increases the ease of which you could have your identity
stolen. STOP DOING THAT! STOP!! NOW!!! You've placed enough
information here that within a half hour I could have your
street address, home phone, everything I'd need to steal your
identity except your SS number and I could get those too for
about $80 and within 2 days time, for both of you. Seriously,
keep your personal information to yourself. And don't fool
yourself by thinking you have nothing to steal; getting hold
of your bank accounts for fraudulent wire charges wouldn't be
hard to do either.
If you are going to paticipate in newsgroups, you need to
also remove your real e-mail address and replace it with
something like (e-mail address removed), one set aside just for
this purpose.
Could someone PLEASE offer some advice and/or point me in
the right direction so I better understand our options?
Get to your church; talk to them.
Go thru the Yellow Pages; look for things like "ombudsman" or
social security assistance offices, which are usually all
free.
You apparently have mortgages, so get to your bank quickly
and explain the situation to them. My own bank allowed a
friend of mine in the same boat to take a break from car
payments for 6 months, and came back after that with with
payments of only 1/4 what they should have been. But I had to
make up the money of course; that was made possible by using
my Back Pay when I was awarded my disability. By the time of
my award I was living on Savings and dug deeply into them.
Since it sounds like you've been awarded disability now,
you at least know what your budget looks like; try to do the
best you can. It's quite a kick in the teeth, I know.
Which assets can they take from us? Are we going to lose
our homes? Can they garnish our IRA’s and/or trust?
Well, once you reach retirment age, everything but the amount
of money you get changes and you go from SS disabled pay to
straight SS pay. I don't think the money amount changes but
not sure; I'm not there yet.

You migth have to get rid of one home. That would be enough
money to at least pay taxes & the mortgage for a few years if
nothing else.
Yes, they can garnish your accounts but I don't know which
or when or under what circumstances. One valuable resource for
me was our local SSA office: They had a list of all kinds of
assistance that was available - you might see if yours can do
the same. I found the people in the local office to all be
good and caring people albeit a bit unprofessional at times
and the morale seemed to be low there. But most of them did
try hard to answer my questions and get an answer to the ones
they didn't know.

Since you said you're now declared disabled, I assume you
meant by the SSA, then you almost certainly also have an SS
lawyer? If not, which is entirely possible with obvious
impairmants, then there are a lot of lawyers that specialize
in SS cases and you usually can get a fantastic amount of
helpful information from them by just asking the sort of
questions you asked here. Just be certain you choose one who
works with SSA disability claims, that's all. Any other type
of lawyer is likely to charge you your first born and then
some in my experience and observations. Personally I talked
with 5 lawyers before I got started with my first hearing, and
ended up with an excellent one. I hope you do too.

And lastly, there is some excellent advice availalbe on this
newsgroup, but I'm not too sure the kinds of questions you
asked can really be answered to your satisfaction because they
are things that change from state to state, peron to person,
over time, and you don't have any idea whether a responder
with good OR bad news knows that they're talking about. For
those actually IN the process of getting a disabled status so
they can take part in the gvt insurance the payments come
from, this group is super. But you're past the process now and
into things a lot more important than trying to keep your
sanity while the SSA toys with you.

Get busy on these things sooner than later, yesterday if
possible! Don't wait, and don't be afraid to ask questions of
those who control the answers and who might know other things,
too. There's the horse's mouth, and the horse's xxxxx ...
well, you know. You can't tell which is which a lot of the
time.
Any information or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Do NOT be afraid to ask for help! There's help for heat in the
winter (called HEAP here), there can be help in paying for
your Part D prescription meds insurance, and of course you
already have Parts A and B.
There are many resources out there; the trick is in finding
them.
For instance, many stores around here give discounts to
Senior Citizens, but I just found out you can get them if
you're on disability, too. At least income taxes get a lot
easier to do, so there's always something good to think about
if you look for it<g>!
Be as pro-active as you can be, and like I said, do not be
afraid to ask questions of the relevant offices. Even your
city councilman, state house & senate, Federal house & Senate
might have information you could use. It doesn't hurt to ask;
worst case they have nothing to offer, so you'll have lost
nothing but a little of your time. Try to remember "Patience
and perseverence" and never burn a bridge behind you. Leave
all routes open, you never know.

I wish you all the luck in the world, and hope things work out
well for you.
Oh, one final note: You use "we" so often I never did decide
whether you are both disabled or if it's only your husband. My
wife is my rock in my case but she's also taken on the chore
of being head of household as well as having to care for me.
It stinks, but we do what we have to do.

HTH,

Twayne`
 
T

Twayne

In
Naughtius said:
On Apr 19, 1:13 pm, Susan Merryweather
....


Ok... Done as much as I can... GET To a LAwyer... Good
Luck...

Naughtius "Someday, We'll Have Single-Payer Coverage"
Maximus

A bit on the tough-love side IMO, but a good post
nevertheless. I second those suggestions and comments.

HTH,

Twayne`
 
J

Just the Facts

My husband recently had open heart surgery from which we incurred
significant medical debt.  The total cost was a little over $160,000
spread over 9 different institutions.  We did not (still do not) have
medical insurance nor can we afford it.  We have just been granted
disability (my husband had to retire early at 62 due to his
condition), but insurance does not kick in for a few more months.

We have worked all our lives and have excellent credit (for now); we
need to decide how to proceed with this overwhelming obligation.

I have been paying $20 a month to each institution which comes to
$180/ month.  We are on a very limited income and this is a very
significant amount of money for us.  The hospital was generous enough
to write off 80% of the bills, but we are still in a position we
cannot afford.  They recently told me if I don’t increase payments to
1000/month they will turn us into collections.

Assets
•     IRA/Retirement ($28,000)
•     Income (social security)
•     Homes
o       We have two houses (one inherited) in need of significant repair.
We are in the process of consolidating the situation, but don’t want
to make a decision that could negatively influence our position. Both
homes are valued at a total of $55,000 ($20,000 + $35,000).
•     Savings Accounts
o       $4,500
•     Other: We will receive one more check ($20,000) from an inheritance
(trust) that will run out next year.

Could someone PLEASE offer some advice and/or point me in the right
direction so I better understand our options?

Which assets can they take from us?  Are we going to lose our homes?
Can they garnish our IRA’s and/or trust?

Any information or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you very much!!!

Sincerely

Susan
Hello ,
In my neighborhood , there is a television ad touting a service called
a "reverse mortgage" .
Possibly availble in your neighborhood .
My understanding is homeowner is recieving funds based on the equity
of the home and paid in monthly installments .
The actual process and legal issues you need to research and
understand how that works .
Having equity in a home is the best thing anybody can have and giving
that up is not highly recommended unless absolutely neccesary .
So think long and hard before you do something like that .
Asking questions and understanding the answer is so important .
Take your time and get it right what ever you do .
Good luck folks .

Peace on Earth , it's the only planet we have

so many questions , so many doubts , so much to think about
Just the Facts
 
B

bo peep

The laws in situations like this vary somewhat from state to state,
and you have not said what state you are in. The previously provided
advice to obtain a specialized local lawyer is the most important
thing to do as soon as possible.

Additionally, you might have a local medical billing advocate review
your bills - most medical bills as large as yours contain considerable
amounts of bogus charges. An advocate might be able to get those bills
reduced.
 
K

Keith

Susan Merryweather wrote in

Hi Susan,
Please consult a bankruptcy attorney to see what your options are. There are
different forms of bankruptcy. It is not unusual for people with health
insurance to also have to file bankruptcy because of co-pays and deductables.

Good Luck.
 
K

kuacou

Which assets can they take from us?  Are we going to lose our homes?
Can they garnish our IRA’s and/or trust?
Social Security is exempt from garnishment or seizure except for
federal taxes. IRAs and qualified pensions are exempt in bankruptcy
and exempt from seizure by creditors. NEVER liquidate or borrow from
your IRA.

Depending on your state you may have homestead rights in your
residence.

A local bankruptcy lawyer can help you with pre-bankruptcy planning
and/or asset protection. Don't wait until it is too late. But try to
get a referral to a lawyer from friends and acquaintances: lawyers are
businesspeople and their first priority is their own welfare, not
yours, unfortunately.

You may find some hints online, but be careful: there are vultures and
sharks out there, and much misinformation. However the bankruptcy
exemptions for each state are online: http://www.thebankruptcysite.org/bankruptcy-exemptions/
Your public library will also have guidance as will your county law
library although perhaps you will find the law library treatises too
technical.

Above all you should not allow yourself to be bullied. And once you
have a lawyer creditors can no longer contact you directly.
 
G

Gerald Abrahamson

My husband recently had open heart surgery from which we incurred
significant medical debt. The total cost was a little over $160,000
spread over 9 different institutions. We did not (still do not) have
medical insurance nor can we afford it. We have just been granted
disability (my husband had to retire early at 62 due to his
condition), but insurance does not kick in for a few more months.


We have worked all our lives and have excellent credit (for now); we
need to decide how to proceed with this overwhelming obligation.
Someone recommended a reverse mortgage.

Do NOT do it unless you want to give the house up after you
die.

The amount you receive will be very small and it can be
taken to be used to pay your medical bills (i.e., it will
not help to pay your monthly bills).

$160 x 20% = $32k (balance you owed--correct?). Selling the
second house will pay off much/most of the debt, so do that
(or give house to hospital and let them deal with selling it
is an option--ask them).

If husband gets a backpay settlement from Social Security,
that should about cover all the medical costs. Then you can
move forward relatively debt-free.
 
S

Susan Merryweather

Someone recommended a reverse mortgage.

Do NOT do it unless you want to give the house up after you
die.

The amount you receive will be very small and it can be
taken to be used to pay your medical bills (i.e., it will
not help to pay your monthly bills).

$160 x 20% = $32k (balance you owed--correct?). Selling the
second house will pay off much/most of the debt, so do that
(or give house to hospital and let them deal with selling it
is an option--ask them).

If husband gets a backpay settlement from Social Security,
that should about cover all the medical costs. Then you can
move forward relatively debt-free.
Thank you all for your helpful advice! I have am learning a lot and
have a better understanding of how to proceed.

A couple more questions:
Does it matter which state you live in or which state the hospital is
in? We are residents of Illinois, but were treated in multiple
states.
Also, does anyway know if a spouse is liable for the other spouse’s
medical bills? I was wondering if an IRA and savings account in my
name would be protected.
The value of the houses was actually an overestimate. We can’t afford
to keep them both and were in the process of selling one to fix the
other when all this happened. We are now worried that it might look
bad to sell it. This puts us in a real bind because we will have to
continue to pay the maintenance on both which is quickly draining us.
Also, I don’t think taking a mortgage out on our home to cover the
medical (unsecured) debt is a wise decision. It is already extremely
difficult to live on our limited income. Our primary goal is to
preserve our assets so we can continue to pay our bills throughout
retirement.

Thanks again!!!
 
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C

Cheryl

Someone recommended a reverse mortgage.

Do NOT do it unless you want to give the house up after you
die.

The amount you receive will be very small and it can be
taken to be used to pay your medical bills (i.e., it will
not help to pay your monthly bills).

$160 x 20% = $32k (balance you owed--correct?). Selling the
second house will pay off much/most of the debt, so do that
(or give house to hospital and let them deal with selling it
is an option--ask them).

If husband gets a backpay settlement from Social Security,
that should about cover all the medical costs. Then you can
move forward relatively debt-free.
Thank you all for your helpful advice! I have am learning a lot and
have a better understanding of how to proceed.

A couple more questions:
Does it matter which state you live in or which state the hospital is
in? We are residents of Illinois, but were treated in multiple
states.
Also, does anyway know if a spouse is liable for the other spouse’s
medical bills? I was wondering if an IRA and savings account in my
name would be protected.
The value of the houses was actually an overestimate. We can’t afford
to keep them both and were in the process of selling one to fix the
other when all this happened. We are now worried that it might look
bad to sell it. This puts us in a real bind because we will have to
continue to pay the maintenance on both which is quickly draining us.
Also, I don’t think taking a mortgage out on our home to cover the
medical (unsecured) debt is a wise decision. It is already extremely
difficult to live on our limited income. Our primary goal is to
preserve our assets so we can continue to pay our bills throughout
retirement.

Thanks again!!!

*********************************
I once worked for an attorney who, among several other things, handled
collection work. I didn't respond before now because other people were
giving you solid advice, but again... all of the above is best checked
through an attorney.

The state of residence matters. The state where the bills originate from may
matter. Whether you're protected or not could be in question (especially if
you signed any of your husband's medical paperwork). Homes may have a lien
placed on them if your husband's name is on them or you attempt to transfer
them solely into your name to avoid attachment. The same applies with any
funds a creditor can prove you attempted to hide... at least in my state; I
know my former boss managed to sue a wife for a husband's debt on this
principle once and won.

An attorney may be able to guide you in several different directions. Some
states also have places like Consumer Credit Counseling available. Other
states have what's called municipal trusteeship, which can easily be filed
by yourself. Unfortunately, both of these methods require all of your
creditors agree on a percentage of income payment plan... at least in our
state. You might also be able to find some legal assistance through places
like Elderly United (or other elderly advocacy agencies). The answer doesn't
_always_ rely on bankruptcy, and bankruptcy doesn't _always_ require total
debt write off or loss of all assets; you might be eligible for a debt
restructuring bankruptcy, the type businesses typically use to remain in
business, but, if the laws are still the same as they were many years ago,
there is also the same sort of thing available for individuals.

If you want to ask something more specific and are willing to accept the
fact that I'm _NOT_ a lawyer, feel free to email me. I don't check that
account daily, but I try to check it every couple of weeks or... whenever
someone on the group posts that they've emailed me.
 
E

earthpots

Susan said:
My husband recently had open heart surgery from which we incurred
significant medical debt. The total cost was a little over $160,000
spread over 9 different institutions. We did not (still do not) have
medical insurance nor can we afford it. We have just been granted
disability (my husband had to retire early at 62 due to his
condition), but insurance does not kick in for a few more months.


We have worked all our lives and have excellent credit (for now); we
need to decide how to proceed with this overwhelming obligation.

I have been paying $20 a month to each institution which comes to
$180/ month. We are on a very limited income and this is a very
significant amount of money for us. The hospital was generous enough
to write off 80% of the bills, but we are still in a position we
cannot afford. They recently told me if I don’t increase payments to
1000/month they will turn us into collections.


Assets
• IRA/Retirement ($28,000)
• Income (social security)
• Homes
o We have two houses (one inherited) in need of significant repair.
We are in the process of consolidating the situation, but don’t want
to make a decision that could negatively influence our position. Both
homes are valued at a total of $55,000 ($20,000 + $35,000).
• Savings Accounts
o $4,500
• Other: We will receive one more check ($20,000) from an inheritance
(trust) that will run out next year.


Could someone PLEASE offer some advice and/or point me in the right
direction so I better understand our options?

Which assets can they take from us? Are we going to lose our homes?
Can they garnish our IRA’s and/or trust?

Any information or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you very much!!!

Sincerely

Susan
Others already stated what I would have, regarding what is
collectable/garnishable. The one thing I did not see mentioned, was checking
with your Social Services Dept or Medicaid office to see if your state has a
Catastrophic Medicaid program, and whether you might qualify for it.
Maryland has such a program. and there is a deductable that has to be met.
Other states have similar Medicaid programs that require a spend down of
income and assets to under a certain amount, if you meet the qualifications
for Medicaid otherwise. You need to contact Medicaid in your state to see if
you qualify for assistance.


--
Carol
Contessa of Consternation
Known to leave foes discombobulated
Scroll down for email contact information.
Autistic Spectrum Code v.1.0
AS? d- s--:+ a+ c+ p+ t-- f S+ p@- e+ h- r- n+(-) i+ P m-() M
http://www32.brinkster.com/ascdecode/

"I have run rings around you logically". Monty Python


Email at (e-mail address removed), removing the 'nospam' and replacing
with 'msn'. DO NOT use the reply function to email me, that goes to a
junk/spam throwaway account that I never check. If you send email to me
there, I most likely won't see it.
 
J

Joan F \(MI\)

The answers to these questions depends on state law. Illinois is not a
community property state so your separate assets are protected from claims
against your spouse. However, you could have changed that by signing
something promising to pay those bills. I think you should sell that house
if you can, you are right in wanting to limit your expenditures. In
Bankruptcy your house would be protected since it is of low value. Did you
know that the majority of personal Bankruptcies are caused by medical bills?
So you have a lot of company in your situation.

Susan Merryweather wrote:
|
| Thank you all for your helpful advice! I have am learning a lot and
| have a better understanding of how to proceed.
|
| A couple more questions:
| Does it matter which state you live in or which state the hospital is
| in? We are residents of Illinois, but were treated in multiple
| states.
| Also, does anyway know if a spouse is liable for the other spouse’s
| medical bills? I was wondering if an IRA and savings account in my
| name would be protected.
| The value of the houses was actually an overestimate. We can’t afford
| to keep them both and were in the process of selling one to fix the
| other when all this happened. We are now worried that it might look
| bad to sell it. This puts us in a real bind because we will have to
| continue to pay the maintenance on both which is quickly draining us.
| Also, I don’t think taking a mortgage out on our home to cover the
| medical (unsecured) debt is a wise decision. It is already extremely
| difficult to live on our limited income. Our primary goal is to
| preserve our assets so we can continue to pay our bills throughout
| retirement.
|
| Thanks again!!!
 
D

deadrat

Joan F \(MI\) said:
The answers to these questions depends on state law. Illinois is not a
community property state so your separate assets are protected from claims
against your spouse.<snip/>
Here is an excellent example of why you should stop reading this
newsgroup and run, don't walk, to a lawyer who specializes in bankruptcy.

Whether Illinois is a "community property" state or not has nothing to
do with ownership of property. Marital (or community) property is
property deemed to have been acquired during and as a result of the
so-called marital enterprise. A court will split such property
equitably (usually that means equally) when the two parties divorce and
regardless of whose name is on the title or account.

Each spouse may own property outright in his or her own name. It may
become community property when the spouses divorce, but that doesn't
concern creditors. They'll go after 100% of the property owned
individually and 50% of the property held in joint tenancy and N% of the
property held as tenants in common, where N equals the share the debtor
owns.

In Illinois, real property may be held as tenants of the entirety, a
legal fiction granting two parties 100% ownership of one piece of
property. Creditors cannot take any portion of such property when only
one party is the debtor. Note the word "real."

Switching ownership around in anticipation of not paying creditors is
probably a bad idea. So bad that the law has a name for it --
fraudulent conveyance, and creditors can ask a judge to void the
transfer.

This is a dance of complicated steps. An expert is required for advice
specific to the situation. As I'm fond of pointing out, those who know
won't give such advice, and those who will, don't know. The latter
admonition is obvious as ignoramuses are rarely shy about sharing what
they think they know. If you don't understand the former part, then
that's another reason to stop trying to get help in this newsgroup.

*** I am not a lawyer, so this can't be legal advice ***
 
B

BigRedTruck

Susan said:
My husband recently had open heart surgery from which we incurred
significant medical debt. The total cost was a little over $160,000
spread over 9 different institutions. We did not (still do not) have
medical insurance nor can we afford it. We have just been granted
disability (my husband had to retire early at 62 due to his
condition), but insurance does not kick in for a few more months.


We have worked all our lives and have excellent credit (for now); we
need to decide how to proceed with this overwhelming obligation.

I have been paying $20 a month to each institution which comes to
$180/ month. We are on a very limited income and this is a very
significant amount of money for us. The hospital was generous enough
to write off 80% of the bills, but we are still in a position we
cannot afford. They recently told me if I don’t increase payments to
1000/month they will turn us into collections.


Assets
• IRA/Retirement ($28,000)
• Income (social security)
• Homes
o We have two houses (one inherited) in need of significant repair.
We are in the process of consolidating the situation, but don’t want
to make a decision that could negatively influence our position. Both
homes are valued at a total of $55,000 ($20,000 + $35,000).
• Savings Accounts
o $4,500
• Other: We will receive one more check ($20,000) from an inheritance
(trust) that will run out next year.


Could someone PLEASE offer some advice and/or point me in the right
direction so I better understand our options?

Which assets can they take from us? Are we going to lose our homes?
Can they garnish our IRA’s and/or trust?

Any information or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you very much!!!

Sincerely

Susan
Here, in Orlando, Florida, we have the #1 rated heart center, Florida
Hospital, Ginsburg Tower, where I had open heart surgery for triple
bypass, Jan. 29, 2010.

I am a USAF retired Viet Nam veteran, so, the $157,000 plus $3,000 of
other bogus charges were cut down to less than $20,000 that Tri Care
Standard paid. My copay was a total of about $600 to the 6 accessory
providers of X rays, transport, anesthesia, lab testing, cardio group
doctors, etc..

On a fixed retirement income it will take me about 6 months to pay off...

My major point here is that I received the very best care in the world,
but, there are 8 stories in the Ginsburg Tower totally devoted to Heart
Care, with over 50 beds per floor, all totally full 24/7/365, so there
are a ton of folks in our boat!

Plus, there are other hospitals here doing similar 3work, in great
numbers. So, if there are 100 major cities with about 600 heart care
patients each week, you can do the math about the bankruptcy rates in
this time of depression, where the reported un-employment is over
12.3 %, with the addition of the folks who have dropped off the end of
benefits making the real numbers somewhere upwards of 25% (which is
actually the reported un-employment for Hispanics, that group who has
learned Spanish, or Mexican, or Columbian, or Brazillian, OR, who have
names that sound "Hispanic"!)

I am going to change my name to "Big Red El-Trucko" and learn five words
of Spanish to see if I qualify for some kind of hand-out, or outreach
money, or, food stamps!

I hear that Social Security denies Heart Surgery as a "disability"!
Put my job loss in under that anyway, and we'll see in six months...

I saw a news report last week that 92% of ALL Bankruptcies are due to
MEDICAL BILLS! I could do that, but, the fees and Court Costs are about
$600. No benefit accrues for me in my case. I only have my two
mortgages. My 1993 big red $900 truck is paid off. No car payments.

But, our decision to NOT get legally married, only spiritually married,
spared my lovely wife a whole lot of financial grief and legal hassles!

Many folks over 50 do NOT get a government license to live together, for
just the reasons of financial encumbrances, taxation that is much higher
on married couples, and other major disadvantages! There are Rights of
Survivorship, that can be done if you consult an attorney...

IANAL, I Am Not A Lawyer, so, YMMV, Your Mileage Might Vary!

Gracias muchachos e Muchachas,
Big Red El-Trucko
 
J

Joan F \(MI\)

And it is quite wrong.

deadrat wrote:
| *** I am not a lawyer, so this can't be legal advice ***
 
B

bo peep

Illinois Bankruptcy Exemptions

This list of exemptions updated December 2009. All law references are
to Illinois Compiled Statutes Annotated unless otherwise noted.
Federal bankruptcy exemptions are not available in Illinois.

Homestead

735-5/12-901 - Real or personal property, including farms, lots,
builidings, condos, co-ops or mobile homes up to $15,000. Spouse or
child of deceased owner can claim homestead (735-5/12-902). Sale
proceeds up to 1 year (735-5/12-906). With some limitations, Illinois
recognizes tenancy by the entirety (750-65/22).

Personal Property

110-979/45(g) - Prepaid tuition trust funds.

235-5/6-1 - Pre-need cemetery sales funds, care funds, and trust
funds.

735-5/12-1001 - Motor vehicle up to $2,400; clothing needed; health
aids; school books; family pictures; bible; personal injury recoveries
up to $15,000; wrongful death recoveries; proceeds from sale of exempt
property; Illinois College Savings Pool accounts that were invested
more than 1 year before filing if below federal gift tax limit, or 2
years before filing if above the federal gift tax limit; any other
personal property up to $4,000 (not including wages).

Wages

740-170/4 - Either a minimum 85% of earned but unpaid wages or 45
timest the higher of the state and federal minimum hourly wage,
whichever is greater. Judge may approve more for low income debtor.

Pensions

11 U.S.C. § 522 - Tax exempt retirement accounts. Traditional IRAs and
Roth IRAs up to $1,095,000 per person.

40-5/2-154 - General assembly members.

40-5/3-144.1 & 40-5/5-218 - Police officers.

40-5/4-135 & 40-5/6-213 - Firefighters.

40-5/7-217 & 40-5/8-244 - Municipal employees.

40-5/9-228 - County employees.

40-5/11-223 - Civil service employees.

40-5/12-190 - Park employees.

40-5/13-805 - Sanitation district employees.

40-5/14-147 - State employees.

50-5/15-185 - State university employees.

50-5/16-190 & 40-5/17-151 Teachers.

40-5/18-161 - Judges.

40-5/19-117 - House of correction employees.

40-5/19-218 - Public library employees.

40-5/22-230 - Disabled firefighters, and widows and children of
firefighters.

735-5/12-1006 - ERISA-qualified benefits and IRAs. As well as public
employees.

Public Benefits

305-5/11-3 - Aid to blind, aged, and disabled; public assistance.

735-5/12-1001 - Veterans' benefits; Social Security; unemployment
compensation; crime victims' compensation; restitution payments for
World War II relocation of Japanese Americans and Aleuts.

820-305-21 - Workers' compensation.

820-310/21 - Workers' occupational disease compensation.

Tools of Trade

735-5/12-1001 - Tools, books, and implements of trade up to $1,500.

Alimony and Child Support

735-5/12-1001 - Alimony and child support needed for support.

Insurance

215-5/238 - Life insurance, annuity, or cash value if beneficiary is
spouse, child, parent, or other dependent of the beneficiary.

215-5/299.1a - Fraternal benefit society benefits.

735-5/12-907 - Homeowners' insurance proceeds for destroyed home, up
to $15,000.

735-5/12-1001 - Health and disability benefits; life insurance
proceeds needed for support if beneficiary is spouse or child.

Misc

805-205/25 - Business partnership property.

Other - Add any applicable Federal Nonbankruptcy Exemptions
 
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J

Jay-T

The easiest way to figure out what your options are would be to meet with
one or more experienced bankruptcy attorneys for a free initial
consultation. Most bankruptcy attorneys provide free intital consultations,
so it won't cost you anything.

It may turn out that selling one property and doing some other completely
legal things to arrange your affairs to better protect you now and in the
future will help a lot. Whether you will need to actually file bankruptcy
is a separate question. It may be that you won't need to file or it may
turn out that you will need to file later on -- even a year from now --
after you have done other things to protect your interests.

Good luck.
 

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