Tag Archives: Hospital bills

Hospitals Sue Patients for Unpaid Medical Bills: How Bankruptcy Protects You

Hospitals Sue Patients for Unpaid Medical Bills: What You Can Do

Hospitals are filing lawsuits against more of their patients. As collection agencies are less effective in collecting unpaid medical bills, hospitals sue patients with unpaid medical bills when they chose to collect from patients directly, instead of using a collection agency.

People incorrectly assume medical bills don’t matter and hope they do not get sued. Many large hospitals have a billing department that spends a calculated amount of time trying to collect a medical bill before sending it off to collections. Many collection agencies just call and harass you. Others threaten to sue.

Meanwhile, some hospitals sue patients for unpaid medical bills instead of waiting for the collection agencies to try collecting the balance due. Bankruptcy can stop the lawsuit!

Chicago Bankruptcy Lawyer Joseph Wrobel Can Help You Today at (312) 781-0996

News Article: Lawsuits From Nonprofit Hospitals That Trap Them in Debt

A struggling social worker, the former patient is being sued by a nonprofit healthcare network in Memphis, Tennessee. Her name is Raquel Nelson and she was sued for $2,200 by Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare. Raquel isn’t the only one being sued, there are more than 8,300 lawsuits filed against patients for unpaid medical bills over five years.

If you think a hospital won’t sue you unless the amount is large enough, talk to Raquel Nelson or one the other 8,300 defendants with court dates. Most defendants sued for medical debts cannot afford a civil lawyer to defend them. Most defendants end up with a money judgment entered against them and a wage garnishment filed with the court and served on their employer’s payroll department.

You can stop lawsuits by hospitals with the protection of Bankruptcy Laws. For example, the Automatic Stay provision is a law that prohibits a creditor or collector from continuing any collection activity. A bankruptcy filing will also stop a wage garnishment. The money judgment entered against you in court can even be eliminated through a bankruptcy discharge.

Chicago Bankruptcy Lawyer Joseph Wrobel can help you today when you dial (312) 781-0996.

Bad Things Happen to Good People: Bankruptcy Laws Can Stop Lawsuits When Hospitals Sue Patients

Car accidents involving uninsured and underinsured motorists can leave injured victims high and dry, with no money to pay medical bills. Especially when your injuries are severe and you required surgery and rehabilitative care, the hospital bills can be tens of thousands of dollars.

Job losses and layoffs affect people’s budget and ability to make payments on medical bills. Plenty of people with medical debt can prevent collection activities by negotiating a monthly payment amount people can afford. If something happens that affects the ability to pay, like a job loss or layoff, you might end up getting sued by the hospital.

Why Collection Agencies Are Ineffective at Getting Hospitals Paid

Hospitals don’t write off as many bills as you may think. Check out this Modern Healthcare article, A Closer Look at Hospital Write-Offs.

A collector does not pose much of a threat if all they are going to do is continue harassing you. Collection agencies must follow debt collection practice laws. These are federal laws with serious penalties. More people are reporting bill collectors to the federal agencies who police them. As a result, collection agencies are changing their practice and might be less effective and hospitals are avoiding them and directly collecting and filing lawsuits.

Read Our Blog: How the FDCPA and the Automatic Stay Help Stop Bill Collectors From Harassing You

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Can Help You Discharge Medical Bills with a Chicago Bankruptcy Lawyer

When most people think about a bankruptcy case they are looking for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.  Chapter 7 requires you to qualify. If, for example, your income is more than allowed in Chapter 7, you can file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

If you are being sued or your wages are being garnished, you can stop the lawsuit and a wage garnishment with a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and its Automatic Stay, stopping creditors and collectors in their tracks.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Can Help You Repay a Portion of Your Medical Bills Over Years and Chicago Bankruptcy Lawyer Joseph Wrobel can help You Today

Chapter 13 is the bankruptcy plan where you repay a portion of your debts over a three to five year period. In Chapter 13, you are allowed to keep your house, car, and personal possessions that might otherwise need to be sold or liquidated in a traditional Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.

Just like Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, a lawsuit, money judgment, and wage garnishment will also be stopped by the Automatic Stay when you file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. Call Joseph Wrobel, your Chicago Bankruptcy Lawyer (312) 781-0996.

Read Some Words from Happy Clients who Hired Joseph Wrobel for a Fresh New Start

“We hired Joseph Wrobel during one of the worst times in our lives…Bankruptcy. He was very knowledgable and honest. He responded to emails immediately, answered every question we had, no matter how small and always made us feel at ease. From the very first meeting with him until the end of our bankruptcy case, we knew we could depend on him. We’re very thankful for his expertise and would highly recommend him to anyone out there looking for legal assistance.” Scott and Lisa (2013)

Click for more -> Testimonials for Chicago Bankruptcy Lawyer Joseph Wrobel (312) 781-0996

When hospitals sue patients for unpaid medical bills, Joseph Wrobel can help!

Discharging medical bills in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy: Don and Jessica’s story

Unpaid medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy. Nearly two million people a year people file for bankruptcy because there is no way they will ever be able to pay their large medical debts. Next to medical bills, credit card debt and unpaid mortgages are the other leading factors causing people to seek bankruptcy protection and often a discharge of those large and growing balances. Accidents and chronic illness can come from nowhere and wipe people out financially, despite years of savings and financial planning.

Jessica always did everything right and was blind sighted by a fall during a routine medical visit.

Two years ago, Jessica (she’s a hypothetical person) went to the doctor for a routine mammogram. She was 43 years old and in perfect health until the technician operating the medical equipment made a mistake and possibly causing Jessica to stumble and fall backward, hitting her head on a table as she fell.

A week before her routine visit to the doctor, Jessica was promoted at her marketing firm and was looking forward to going out to celebrate with some friends. She never left the hospital.

Jessica’s husband Don arrived to find his wife of 18 years in the ICU, unconscious. Fearing the worst, Don was thrilled to see Jessica wake up and say his name. Confused, she asked him why she was in the hospital. He explained that she had fallen during the mammogram. She did not remember. He thought nothing of it assumed trauma blocked the memory.

Jessica suffered short term memory loss and was unable to do her job. She tried going to work but kept making mistakes and her firm had to let her go due to her injuries. Unable to earn an income, Jessica’s ongoing therapy for her head injury sent her in and out of doctors offices and hospitals because things started getting worse and other symptoms suggested there was more going on than the doctors thought.

Don and Jessica saved for retirement and her accident wiped them out.

When Jessica’s insurance was maxed out and she had trouble getting new insurance at the time, and Don didn’t have any insurance through his carpet installation job. She and Don turned to their savings. It went quickly. Don picked up extra labor work and barely had time to see his sick wife. Needing to pay up front for certain procedures and medications, other bills were not getting paid. Don’s phone was constantly ringing with collectors on the other end, or the hospital, every 10th phone call. Don no longer recognized his life.

Jessica started getting better and although she couldn’t go back to work due to permanent memory loss problems, her other motor skill and respiratory symptoms were improved. Trying to move forward with their new life together was difficult, especially when Don could barely afford to take them out for dinner.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is Don and Jessica’s best option.

Jessica learned that she qualified for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. She also learned that even though she would not be liable for the medical bills after discharge, the collectors would go after Don for those payments. Jessica and Don are going to file a joint husband and wife bankruptcy petition so the massive medical bills go away for good, for both of them. Worried about the incredible payments, Don didn’t even realize that filing for bankruptcy will also stop the phone from ringing off the hook. The automatic stay provision will prevent anyone from contacting him or taking action to collect certain debts, such as the medical bills for anything incurred prior to the filing date of the bankruptcy.

Jessica also worked it out with the hospital so that she could continue treating with her regular physician and found a private program to help with her medication. Don and Jessica are hopeful that they will have many good years together and they are adjusting well to their new life after the accident. A lawsuit has been pending for over a year and they are hopeful a settlement will help them pay for future expenses if and when Don can retire. A situation that seemed hopeless is starting to look up.

Even tragedy can be overcome with a sense of purpose, some planning and the right professional help.

Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. helps people get control of their finances and a fresh start at financial freedom. The firm’s website contains informative videos about financial issues as well as bankruptcy protection for families who want a fresh start. To keep in touch and read about consumer finance news and stories you can Like the firm’s Facebook page and Follow Joseph Wrobel. Ltd. on Twitter. If you need immediate legal assistance, please call Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. by calling (312) 781-0996 to talk to an attorney today.