Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Medical Economics Part 2

This is spurred by our wonderful (looking, as well as posting) RadGirl..Hope you do fine, Babe..But did you guys know???
That medical bills are not counted against your CREDIT rating/scores?! Bet you didn't! They don't even appear! And to follow that to the (ill)logical end..By our laws, as long as your doctor wants you admitted and taken care of, ED or PCP, the hospital HAS to do so!
Bottom line, just pay your DOCTOR'S bill and you'll always be OK..
F**K the hospital bill!! They can threaten, etc, but can't really do a damn thing and they HAVE to take care of you again and again no matter what your bill is!

And, Anon From the North, who says CA's health care sucks?! That's a great way to take care of that problem, but I just don't think it would work in the USoffreeA as 911 pointed out..Happy New Year!!


  1. That must have changed in relatively recent times...

    In '84 I was hit by a drunk driver while walking on a sidewalk. 5.5 months inpatient - I was pretty messed up.

    The car was owned by a dealership. Salesman took it home, then let a third guy drive it. Driver ran, but called an ambo when he got home so no H&R charge.

    The salesman told the dealer someone hit the car in a parking lot. They fired him soon after for other reasons. He and the driver split town. The dealer didn't know about me until they started getting letters from my lawyer.

    Lawyer dropped the case -- no way to find the other guys, no way to drag them back for a civil suit, and worst of all I was pretty drunk myself at the time.

    Had I been able to raise ~$50k I'd have had a fair chance at winning a suit, but no better than 50/50 with evidence I was drunk and no proof the driver was -- not to mention the issue of liability between the driver/salesman/dealer/owner/etc.

    So there I was, barely out of my teens, half crippled, with ~$250k in unpaid medical bills -- I had no insurance. Was enlisted in the Navy, but hit 2 days before my "report" date, so no help there either.

    Having no way to pay, no income, no insurance, no nothing -- I had no choice but to say "sorry..." to all those who cared for me. I didn't like it then, and don't now, but had no other choice.

    Anyhow, my credit was screwed up for YEARS as a result.

    I've always felt that isn't right -- it's not as though I bought a TV or something then refused to pay for it. I was brought in an ambulance and needed nearly half a year to get well enough to go home.

    I know you weren't ranting at me, rather at "Mr. Toothache" and other ER-abusers...

    I just thought I should point out there are lots of folks like me who ended up in ER through no fault of their own, and who'd pay if they could, but simply CAN'T.



  2. the educated consumer10:29 AM, December 27, 2007

    That's not entirely true about your credit score being immune to medical bills.

    Several years ago I was twice brought to the emergency room in a state of semi-consciousness. At the time I was homeless and couch-hopping (how I got so sick...) and didn't have an address. Apparently I was still covered under my father's insurance, because when I got rejected for my first credit card 4 years later, I discovered that I had two items in collection.

    WTF??? Well guess what, the hospital couldn't send me a bill for the two $50 copays so they just sold my measly $100 debt to someone lower on the food chain.

    I would have paid the stupid hundred bucks if I knew that my escort to the ER didn't cover it. Except there was no way to know this because the hospital never found a way to send me a bill.

    My credit score only recovered last year.

    So, yeah--your credit score is safe from unpaid medical bills UNTIL the bills are sold to collections. Then they're just like any other debt and you're screwed in the usual fashion.

    Good luck out there.

  3. That doesn't work here either. My X totally fubared my credit with his drunk-wrecking escapades.

    It even haunted me for several years after I managed to divorce him.

    I guess only special people get to ditch the bill.

  4. I wrote about my pneumonia on my blog today so you can read the whole story there if you want to. It is long and rambly, but mainly says that I will go for an x-ray in a month and hope it is clear of any pneumonia looking things. Then I will continue with my every 3 months chest CT's to follow up on the little somethings that are possibly cancer or possibly not cancer from before. I still have the cough, but am feeling less tired so I hope it is just pneumonia. I never thought I would hope for pneumonia!

    Either way I am going to play guitar hero all day today and stuff myself with cookies to gain back some of the weight I lost because I was so tired eating seemed to be too much effort. Thanks for putting up with my grumpiness the other day.

  5. Yeah. Went to the ED for a kidney stone; paid the doctor's bills, but the $2,000 left over in hospital bills has impacted my credit rating and left bill collectors harassing me day and night. (I know that $2,000 probably doesn't seem like a lot but when you're already paying $500 a month for meds, and then there's the college tuition & books, on top of the usual rent/food/utilities...) And this is before the bill that I'm going to get for the ED/inpatient cardiac shit that happened a few weeks ago.

    What frustrates me the most is that, even as a self-pay patient, I find that doctors are simply not willing to compromise. *I'm* paying for being over-tested, etc. (Although I realize that they over-do it for liability reasons.)

  6. I will always over test unless there is a result I don't need to know or is impossible. I heard an attorney say at a deposition "You mean this test was available to you and you chose not to order it?"
    My residency director taught me two things I remember.
    1. Never carry a coffin alone (always get a consultant to help you)

    2. Spend the patient's money and not your child's inheritance.

    Good advice, that.


  7. and in addition, hannah, i am always ammenable to foregoing a teste or a film that i feel is necessary to do a complete workup if the patient uderstands the consequences of missing a particular problem and signs off on the fact that THEY refused the test.

    more importantly, i have no clue how patient's are billed, or how much they are billed. i do not look to see if people are insured so that it doesnt' sneak in to my practice that i deliver different care to different economically advantaged patients.

    so here's what happens, i send a chart off somewhere. people look at it and generate a 'level of care' and bill for procedures, critical care time, and tests.

    it is then sent to the south pole where trolls generate the bill. the three fates then decide whom to bill and how much.

    as it turns out, people with insurance will either have none of their bill covered (pre-existing condition), a portion of it, or all of it.

    those in the country illegally or without money will be billed but rarely pay.

    those with jobs and some resources will be hounded to the day they die and are forever scarred. the folks without insurance but with money, and the folks with insurance are paying for everyone else... like the woman from Bangladesh.


  8. In regards to your question, yes, I have applied for the match. But no, I have not talked about what I plan to do ;)

  9. Well, like one of the first commenter's mentioned, the hospital will sell you bill to a collection agency who will call you three times a day until the next millenium or you pay us. It will be placed against your credit as "collection agency" not as a medical credit will be in the commode. The collection agency will take all you are willing to pay a month...and continue to call and harrass you, because they can.

  10. I know there are alot of legitimate sob-stories out there. The reality is that all bills can be negotiated. Call the MD's office, the insurer, the hospital administration (all hospitals have a patient advocate - also known as "PITA"), etc... and ask how you can work out a payment plan or negotiate a lower bill. If you are motivated, you will be able to reduce your debt.

    Less whining, more action folks.

    "PITA" = Pain In The Ass.

  11. medical bills won't show on your credit report, but debt to a credit collection agency hired by the hospital/doctor's office you owe money to...well...

    while applying for a home equity loan we discovered my husband had failed to pay off the last $65 of a $9,000 surgical bill so the hospital sent his statement to a collection agency who somehow forgot to inform us he owed them 65 bucks.

    love the blog.