Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Voice Mail

"This is the doctor's office. The insurance premiums on the doctor's new Porshe will be higher than expected, what with the DUI and the dead Asian hooker in the trunk and all, and so we need to schedule some more unnecessary procedures for you to further line our pockets. Please call for an appointment."

Only the first and last sentences actually occurred, but the rest would be a refreshing change of pace. They did leave a message identifying themselves as The Doctor's Office, which in my case narrows it down to three hospitals and a clinic. It doesn't matter - I feel better now than I have in some time (certainly any time I've been enduring medical care), and I have no more money to give them anyway.

I've been trying to work up a new budget, something I can live with and still make payments, and I think I can barely survive this year as long as absolutely nothing else bad happens. I have no remaining credit and can barely meet all of my monthly payments. I know some of you advised me to pay the hospital bills (which are currently the bulk of my monthly expenses) at my leisure, but although some of you may have been lucky with that, I don't know of any laws protecting me from them should they decide to sue. My mother, retired and living on a fixed income, had an emergency hospitalization. After the insurance paid their part, she tried to work out a payment plan with the hospitals, but they weren't happy with the speed of her repayment and so they turned the matter over to a collection agency who harassed the shit out of her.

Looking at all my options, I've been reading about applying for bankruptcy in Georgia. Since our glorious leader and savior Jebus W. Bush pushed through legislation to protect the poor corporations from the mean old public, it's more difficult to do. One of the new restrictions is that you first have to obtain approved credit counseling before doing so. I've been hesitant to contact these agencies since they all seem like a scam. A friend tried to use CCCS and found their help consisted of them taking over his debt and telling him how much he had to pay them per month (which was more than he was already paying) and then harassing him like a collection agency when he said he didn't want their "help". Anybody have any experience / anecdotes / dire warnings of doom to share? It would be unprecedented if I receive useful information through this blog, but there's always a first time for everything.


Robin said...

budgets are something i can't wrap my brain around and we could desperately use one. maybe it's just that iced lattes never seem to fit into any budget.

Monogram Queen said...

Ugh this really REALLY sucks Grant. and it totally blows that Jebus W. Bush made filing bankruptcy harder. You are truly between a rock and a hard place and make my piddly little problems look like a walk in the park.
Thank you for brightening my day, my friend.

SJ said...

Can't even rob a bank these days since their currency is either digital or fictitious.

April said...

Many hospitals offer charity discounts where they'll write off all or some of your debt. I don't know if you've tried this or not, but you can always call them and ask if they have anything like that and see if you can qualify. It doesn't hurt to try, if you haven't already.

If I wasn't a broke bitch, I would totally donate money to you. One day I'll have deep pockets that are actually FULL and I'll share with you. Promise.

Speaking of Asian prostitutes....Joe's friend's girlfriend is a real live hook..um I mean massage therapist in a happy endings place in NYC. She makes 300k a year. She's cute. You would think she's a smokin' hot bunny! When's your birthday? Maybe I'll buy you a happy ending.

Her boyfriend's name is Mike and when she calls for him she says, "MIKE-RAUL!" I crack up every time.

Anyway, call the hospital if you haven't. Sometimes there are nice people willing to work with you.

Jay said...

I don't trust any of the credit counseling groups. They all look like scams to me. Luckily for me, I filed bankruptcy way back in '97, before Dubya and Joe Biden got together to protect he banks from the citizens.

You can still declare, but I guess it's much harder. You can always contact a lawyer. Most of them won't charge you for the initial consultation.

Or you can find a rich bunny willing to marry you. ;-)

Whitemist said...

I think the marring Bunny idea rocks...

Grant said...

Robin - iced lattes are the bane of budgets.

Monogram Queen - I exist to make others feel better by comparison.

SJ - maybe I could rob one with a USB flash drive.

April - I did and they wrote of some of the bill, which is as helpful as partial circumcision. They still left me with about $40k to pay out of pocket.

Jay - I've researched a few and don't see any that seem both helpful and on the level, but the new law requires you to use one of the many on the federal list before you can file.

Whitemist - unfortunately, the ones I've met expect me to be the rich one.

Kerry said...

Those hospital bills are negotiable. I have a friend who worked in the business office at one of our hospitals and she told me... they negotiate all the time for people who have huge bills. Try that route. AT least get some knocked off the total cost!

Avitable said...

Yes, a collection agency will harass the shit out of you if you don't pay your hospital bills, but until they take you to court for it and win, which means they'd have to have all the proper paperwork (which is unlikely because collection agencies are very disorganized), there isn't too much that they could do to you.

GreenJello said...

You could always try the "If you don't work with me to get a reasonable payment plan and total amount, I will be forced to declare bankruptcy....and then you won't get anything."

Explain that you're willing to pay them money, but you don't have THAT kind of money just sitting around.