Losing your house to pay debts

Discussion in 'Money Talk$' started by Alcott, Jan 13, 2010.

  1. Alcott

    Alcott
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    That could be my story this year. My insurer (PPO) has paid little of the hospital and surgical costs for my hip revision surgery, so the bills are coming in while I owe $2100 in prop. taxes this month. It's hard to see a way out of this unless it takes longer for providers to settle these things than I thought. Indeed, I still have not gotten a bill from the hospital, but a statement listed $55,000 in items, which is far more than I expected, and the PPO has only paid $6,000 so far. Then yesterday a bill from the orthopedist came and it lists $12,000 but acknowledges less than the PPO's reports say they have paid. Even in a best case scenario it's hard to see how I am going to keep my house, which is the one I grew up in and bought out 3 others for when our mom died. In the meantime, in the last year and a half, the value of my stock holdings has been slashed about 55% and the house's appraisal has gone down $5000.

    Maybe I know far less than many about these things, But has anyone else been through this? Is bankruptcy better than selling your house (on which I owe nothing)? As for medical offices and hospitals, how long before they stop dealing with insurers, believing they gotten all they will get from them, and come after you with threats? Can reasonable payment plans usually be worked out? I need to ask this, I suppose, because I have always stayed out of debt until quite recently. I have only owned 6 cars in my life (4 of them bought new), and my present one is the first I did not pay cash for. My changes of fortune, both healthwise and financially, are deplorable, and I seem to be 'losing it' in trying to deal with it all.
     
  2. just-want-peace

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    Don't know how long you've waited, but it does take several months in some cases. I had a prostate-ectomy many years ago, and my insurance was paying for some 8 months or so after the event!

    From what I've heard, most Drs. & hospitals will work with you to pay off a huge debt, as long as you show good faith.
     
  3. Trotter

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    Most, not all.

    I had surgery back in June of last year. It wasn't until late August that I found out that my COBRA coverage I thought I had did not exist at the time of the surgery (ended in April). My doctor has been great, and as long as we make some kind of payment ($10 a month right now) his office will hold on to the bill. The local hospital, however, is now privately owned... it doesn't matter how much you pay, they only hold the bill for six months and then turn it over to collections.

    Talk to the hospital and doctors and see if they will work with you. More often than not they will try to work with you, especially if you let them know what's going on. Silence on your end will always be interpreted as you not wanting to pay the debt.
     
  4. FriendofSpurgeon

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    There is no need to rush. The insurance company can take a long time to pay the bills with the hospitals and doctors. My guess is that the PPO payment will be about 70% of the actual billed charges. You should not have to pay more than the max out of pocket, amount as listed in your insurance policy. Become very, very familiar with this.

    Also, if you are indeed responsibile for a lot of out of pocket costs, most medical providers will work with you on your ability to pay. I think selling your home would be the very last resort.
     
  5. billwald

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    If you own your house or if it is worth more than the outstanding mortgage then PAY THE PROPERTY TAXES!

    OFFER to pay 25% on the dollar BUT DON'T GIVE THEM ANY MONEY until you get a satisfactory deal in writing!
     
  6. targus

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    Agreed.

    Pay the property taxes first so that you don't loose your home.

    Besides, if you give up the house and are forced to start paying for a place to live each month you will have even less money available to work out a payment plan on the medical bills.
     
  7. Crabtownboy

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    This is true of almost all creditors. They would much rather you be up front with them and are almost always willing to work out a schedule.


    1. List you creditors in the order of least owed to to the one you owe the most to.

    2. Pay off the one you owe the least money to as fast as you can.

    3.Then double that payment up with your regular payment to the next one.

    4. As soon as that one is paid off use the payments you were paying to 1 and 2 take those payments and add them to the payments to the next one.

    This domoning effect will get you out of the hole.

    Then, after everyone is paid take all those payments and put that in savings each month.
     
  8. webdog

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    Do not sell your home to pay the debt! If you cannot work out something to repay the debt, chapter 13 will allow you to reaffirm debt (home) you want to keep, and after a 3 - 5 year plan depending on your income, will take any left over pay to pay off the non secured debt, then discharge any remaining unaffirmed debt after that time.. This can also be changed to a chapter 7 later on if you cannot afford the home. Talk to a good bankruptcy attorney, but remember he only gets paid if you file so he will try to steer you that route. One you file, you also may be able to negotiate your debt down as they will realize they will be unsecured. You can always pull the BK off the table.
     
  9. Alcott

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    As I understand, you can only arrange to pay quarterly if you are entitled to the 65-or-older exemption or the disabled exemption. I was only going to have to pay a few hundred from some other source to cover that plus the regular bills around the first of Feb... then, still on crutches, I fell and broke my wrist of the hand opposite the less-than-rehabbed hip, and after arguing with the orthopedist and his assistants, getting their itemized list of costs, I agreed to out-patient surgery on Tuesday, which should cost me a couple days work. And checking phone messages, after pre-admittance today, had a call from the business office saying I will have to fork over $1000, my deductable for the new year, on Tue. Now I will have to rob my retirement accounts and pay the penalties, I suppose, to cover the immediate liabilities. Then who knows, from there. I have an urge to cancel the out-patient junk and leave the wrist with the 5-10% use, as it is now.

    I had, however, paid some of the smaller bills-- for chest xray, blood workup, et al-- associated with hip surgery, as Crab suggested. And the new orthopedist and P.A. told me what some have said here; that those statements give many costs that are well above what a contract limits, that it can take several months to settle with the health provider, and 'hardship' cases are usually dealt with leniency and small installments. Maybe I would be less freaked without this new injury, feeling like I'm standing by for next financial aftershock.
     
  10. billwald

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    Your deductible is the the amount that you must pay before your insurance kicks in? I'm NOT a lawyer but seems to me if you send the deductible with the notation "deductible for 2010 insurance year" to the insurance company and they cash it then they have committed themselves for the rest of the year. The hospital can write off whatever the insurance company doesn't pay as charity. I wouldn't pay any of the nickel and dime stuff. Let it ride for awhile.
     
  11. Alcott

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    I'm not sure what you mean here,but my problem is paying the $1000 anywhere. I have no idea if that orthopedist is honest or not, but he claims that the worst bone not being set right with pins will leave me with 10-15% use of that left arm. So having this fixed means having to rob my retirement funds and pay the penalties, and then face these other money-grabbers. If I say I can't pay the thousand up front or I then can't pay taxes, I'm sure they would be impressed. I wish we were talking about nickel & dime stuff!
     
  12. webdog

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    Dont' touch your retirement fund either! I'm telling you, it looks like chapter 13 is looking like what you need if you cannot pay for the medical expenses. Please speak with a bankruptcy attorney.
     
  13. windcatcher

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    Alcott,
    Any hassel by the insurance company and unnecessary delays.... and you may want to check with the state insurance commissioner.
    Regarding the annual deductible on your insurance policy As unfair as it seems, I think you are correct regarding their requirement (usually) for the deductible to be paid 'upfront' before they kick in with the rest of the payments. But, I do think there are ways around having to meet this. However, check with your doctor and whatother professional advisors you can find for information. Some offices can steer you to other resource personnel who are familiar with insurance and loopholes and hoops and how to talk their language and get them to move and most areas do have legal service advisors for those on low or limited income or already in financial hardship. A well drafted letter from an attorney may be able to negotiate more mutually satisfying committments from your insurance company.

    First things first..... Get your wrist treated properly If your doctor is willing to accept delays in payment... then get treatment. If he is not.... call the health department, social services, anyone .... and everyone... clinics, other doctors, etc.... until you find someone who will help you on the terms which you can meet. Sorry if your insurance plan limits or penalizes if the one who treats you is out of plan. Best to work with the doctor you already know if you both can come to an agreement.

    Whatever you do, pay your property taxes. I don't know what kind of deadlines you are really up against on this one. Here I get a statement in November with diminishing discounts if paid in full beginning with Nov until taxes are due by March 31 or are late with penalties and then advertised for sale. [To help you budget in the future... you may wish to see if you qualify for an 'instalment plan' of tax payment and what the deadlines are for applying. My county qualifies anyone with a bill over $100 but it must be applied for ahead of time. OTOH there is another program available for some called a 'deferred' plan. You might check into this also......... BUT, for right now.... back to basics]

    Do you have any other sources of funding which you can 'cash in' w/o breaking into a retirement account which might also create tax liabilities and penalties? An extra car? A yard mower? An expensive piece of jewerly? Children, family, friends, church resources you could 'tap' temporarily to bail you out ... and then pay them back promptly.....

    BTW.... I'm not expecting you to reply as I almost never visit this site to begin with.... and the 'above' isn't intended as advice or questions but sort of a memory jog of ideas.... something in there you might find useful..... and if not... I've much yet to learn so we're all in a boat rowing....:)
     
  14. Alcott

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    Well, I did have surgery on the wrist this week. And even though I meant it sarcastically when I said "I'm sure they [the medical office] would be impressed" if I told them of my money/taxes situation, they really did go to bat for me, reducing my up-front payment to them frm $232 to $100, and even called the hospital on my behalf to 'second' my need for that to be reduced [to $500], both charges which I paid for on a MasterCard. So I have the funds to pay taxes and have simply delayed the big pay-it-and-lose-something for a few weeks, hoping to make some gains in the meantime.

    Then today my water heater goes out! Since I can't take showers anyway-- can't hold or wash with my left hand; still-weak hip makes me too unstable to have no bracing-- I'm not going to replace it very quickly. For so many years I have believed there is no relation between the spiritual and the practical, all this may be compelling me to reexamine that. It may be, but I'm still standing firm for now.
     
  15. windcatcher

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    You have my prayers. This last year was also difficult for me. Seems like every time I thought I'd caught up with the essentials to start consiidering other things which I've put off like repair on a key tooth (which broke over a year ago with only the buccal side remaining and the silver filling exposed... a crown repair would be required and if the filling is lost, decay will likely destroy and add an expensive root canal treatment to complete the saving of it), some delayed auto maintainance and repair, replacing a 4x8 sheet rock ceiling which fell in my garage, replacing the aluminum electric cable which furnishes my central heat (which I can't use now... because oxidation and brittle break down in the original might cause a fire if 'juiced up'), and completing caulking and priming and paint repair on some bare wood facia and weather board under the eves of one side of my house after hurricane repair in 2005...... and a couple of years ago, I had to do w/o hot water due to problems with h/w heater.... cold water baths and sponging just doesn't quite do it... so I understand the quandry of trying to stretch.

    One thing you might try.... it worked for me about 20 years ago.... when I was scraping for funds..... some hot water heaters have a thermostat and also a heating element which can be replaced somewhat more reasonably than replacing the whole heater... ask around among your friends and people in your church... if they know anyone who knows about this and could check and see if this is all you need and could do it for you,

    Last summer my ac went out at the start of summer.... Where I live it is necessary because the humidity is so great, in addition to the heat, that just trying to keep windows open and benefit from the cooling at night means so much water circulates in the air that it starts setting mildew and mold growth... in closets and bed linens and stuffed furnishings... w/o conditioning the air. I called a friend who worked closely with a FBC where many of its own skilled people or connections have helped in the building, expansion and repairs and maintenence at their church... either as a contribution or at reasonable charge. A retired and (probably) no longer licensed a/c man was willing to check on my a/c unit. At first it looked like the compressor (major expense) might be shot... but then he found a broken connection which he was able to repair and it worked the rest of the summer.

    I just checked your profile, and, while you might be on the 'young' side to get help from the senior citizen organizations... still if you can make contact with them and/or with groups who work with people with disabilities in helping them through those maintanance issues which could complicate their abilities to live independantly... If the organizations or groups are not able to help you.... maybe you don't meet some criteria or requirement of their program... someone working in the program may be able to connect you to people who do do volunteer or low cost but quality work for people in special need, and who may be willing to help... either volunteer or at reasonable charge.

    I pray that God will direct you in your choices and give you wisdom... and direct you to the sources of people who can help and/or lead them to you so that this burden isn't so heavy. As I do.... I think you also are struggling with prioritizing the most essentialst with the hope that the other things left undone will hold until you can catch up with them.

    Please forgive me for sharing with you my difficulties. It is not intended to add to your burdens... and really these are things which are teaching me not to worry but to keep trusting God and have faith that if it is something really so necessary.... he can and does send help..... not always in my timing.... but always just in time before desperation sets in.

    These troubles have a way of making one feel isolated from others, who seem to be doing so well,... and alone. Don't let that fill your mind. Banannas come in bunches... at the store and also in real life. You are not alone. Not only is God with you.... but he has a plan through all of this for you for your good. Don't let these trials or tests defeat you. Reach out to others who have faith...... as I think you are doing in this thread.... but bring it closer to home so that you have prayer warriors who may be available to minister to you in more than just the spiritual things. And find those things which you still have and praise God for each blessing, and depend on him, telling him your troubles.

    It would be unusual if you don't have some days which seem to get you down but fight the urge to make that dwelling place. Prayer and praise and thankfulness helps.

    I don't know you.... really.... except through this thread. And I know that I don't really know what you are feeling and going through now nor how difficult or courageous your struggle is ..... but I care.... and I love you ...... and I pray God will help you draw closer to him and discover what a real friend he is...... and fill you with the victorious power that there is nothing that can separate you from him or defeat your faith..... and also speed your healing.

    (I had not intended to revisit this thread or comment.... but I couldn't help it.... There is something oppressingly familiar about your situation and I feel moved to pray for you, and hope this sharing is also encouraging.)

    P.S. Sometimes we discover our glass which is half full is also half empty. If we can find a way to shorten the glass.... we have a full glass once more.
     

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