Friday, March 19, 2010

Blessings, you won't know if you don't ask

Medical bills, that's what I am talking about.

Hubby had surgery last Novemeber. We got the bills in December. Thousands of dollars, AFTER the insurance paid. Why do we pay for insurance month after month? I forget.....

I call the business office to set up payment arrangements, am told my only options are for a third company. They sell our debt to the company, the company then charges a percentage of interest for 2 years, but allows us to pay X dollars a month. This is the ONLY option that I am told about. So this is what I set up.

Fast forward two months, we have paid one month to the other company, but have set aside a large amount of cash. I go to the business office in person and ask if we can make a settlement for the remainder of the medical debt. I'm told that they will not do that, but that I can apply for hardship where they will reduce or erase the debt completely. WHAT?! Why didn't they tell me that in December? Oh, but I've already signed the papers to the other company. NOO!!! Hold it, the final papers haven't been signed (thank you, Jesus!), so they can halt selling my debt until I can fill out the hardship paperwork. WHEW.

Thank you, Lord, for having me go on that day to check on our debt. If we had made a second payment, it would have been irrevocable. The debt would have belonged to the third company and we couldn't have worked with the hospital. Thank you, Lord!

I fill out the paperwork. It felt very invasive. Three months worth of paystubs, three months worth of bank statements, our tax returns, etc, etc. Hubby HATED that we had to give so much information.

I took it back in two days later, turned it in. The lady in the business office looked it over quickly and told me that she thought 100% of our debt would be written off. Worst case would be 80% of the debt. Oh-kay. That would be lovely. But I am scared and anxious, so I will just wait and see. Hopeful, don't get me wrong, but I will wait.

I got the letter this week. The hospital wrote off 100% off the debt. This is over 2,500 worth of medical bills that we would have been paying off over the next two years. That we would have been paying INTEREST on.

I suppose the thing that frustrates me so badly is that I didn't know that they had a program to write off debt. To apply for hardship.

My advice to others? Please ask. Hospitals in particular. Ask the business office which programs they offer. It can't hurt to ask!

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