Friday, November 13, 2009

Here's another chance for you people to give me some actual useful advice (as if)

I went to a bankruptcy lawyer yesterday who knew less than I'd hoped (she still believes hospitals are kind, forgiving entities eager to work with anyone willing to stay in touch and make payments) but she turned out to be a tiny hot bunny, so all is forgiven. Before you even ask, no, I will not be asking her out because a) she's married, b) I don't like to cross lines in a professional relationship, and c) the circumstances under which we met are not ideal. The following conversation definitely did not take place.

Me: "I've been ill for about a year and a half now and the resulting medical bills have driven me to the brink of financial ruin."
Bunny Lawyer: "I want you now."

As a brief recap, I got sick and then the medical community has been billing the shit out of me ever since. I've received bills as late as 16 months after the procedures were performed, have been told by the hospitals that they have no way of knowing when (if) it will ever stop, and now three hospitals / doctors' groups have sent my accounts to collections even in cases where we had written repayment agreements and I was paying the agreed amounts on time. The hospitals / collections agencies have mostly failed to contact me for repayment, preferring instead to wreck my credit with their actions and to use the opportunity for write-offs. Additionally, the credit card companies, seeing that I maxed out my credit making payments to the hospitals, responded by doing things like lowering my limits, raising interest rates, and pretending they didn't hear me when I asked that my accounts be closed and put in repayment status. My rural conservative upbringing taught me certain things, such as if you served in the military then your medical needs would always be met, hospitals have to work with you if you can't pay their bills immediately, and you should always repay your debts. I've already learned the first two are complete BS and, considering their actions, I no longer feel the need to deal fairly with them.

So, my current viable options (the lawyer didn't recommend debt consolidation companies, and I had a bad feeling about them anyway) are to keep going as I have been, try to track down all the bills that have been sent to various collections agencies without my knowledge, keep paying, and by 2011 I should have wormed my way out of all the direct medical debt but still be left with enough credit card debt to last the rest of my life (note - that plan only works if my car doesn't break down again like it already has twice this year and if I don't have any further health issues), or file bankruptcy. If I decide to file it will cost me a hefty chunk of change (but since I will no longer be making payments to creditors I'll make that money back in a month) and my credit rating will take a hit, but the healthcare community has already wrecked it so that's a wash. Most people think you can't get credit after filing (not that I want any for anything other than a new car loan), but I've learned from the movie Maxed Out and friends who have filed that the assumption is untrue. Friends of mine actually started receiving more offers for credit after they went bankrupt.

So, can anyone think of a reason not to file other than that's not what a good xtian federalist Republican would do and if I cheat the medical community I'll just force them to overcharge for unnecessary treatments and then they'll start using unethical billing practices and the terrorists will have won?

16 comments:

Jay said...

When I filed I was told that the law wouldn't allow me to file again for like 10 years or something. So, two days after I filed I got a bunch of credit card offers in the mail. I guess they figured since I couldn't file again for a decade I was a safe bet. Of course the Joe Biden "Screw over everyone who files for bankruptcy act" wasn't law yet when I filed. So, I don't know if that little rule still exists.

If you're not sure that your lawyer is up to it, then go see a different lawyer. Don't let her Bunniness get in the way of competent representation.

Kerry said...

This is a hard one. First first response is don't file. You can overcome. My second response is... what the hell!? File. Get it over with. They've already f'd you... just finish it off. But then again... it seems like a failure. But then again, its not... its like some relief to a neverending battle.

I'm torn. Can ya tell?

dr.alistair said...

i think part of overcoming is to become invisible to them. file bancrupcy and screw them.

they have no problem doing it to you.....

..by the way, there is no "them", just a bunch of bureaucrats and clerks.

make your life better.

Avitable said...

It sounds like you've been thorough and done research and this is the best avenue for you.

Monogram Queen said...

I say whatever will give you the most peace of mind. Seriously. Eff the hospitals/credit card companies. They don't care about YOU.

Oh and I AM following you, for some reason the bottom of my blog doesn't show all the blogs I follow but yours is definitely listed when I go in where I do a new post.
Carry on!

Captain Dumbass said...

I'd say fuck it and file. Start out fresh and leave it behind. Sure it will effect your credit for a few years, but eventually you move past that. Better than the constant stress of being in debt, and that can't be helping your health.

Whitemist said...

To bad you can't hold out paying pennies until 2012, then nothing will matter.

Ace said...

Congrats!!! Let's throw a bankruptcy party at Grant's next week!! Bring on the party bunnies to celebrate burning your debt and moving on with your life. Screw them!!! Too bad your not an illegal immigrant?? Then I understand this would have all just been free for you.

Shame on America screwing you over after you served for us. As said... we treat the foreigners better!! JUST BULLSHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tracy Lynn said...

FILE

SJ said...

I don't know that line might actually work. Have you ever wondered why serial killers seem to find it so easy to pick up women?

tiff said...

I still find it shocking that your treatment wasn't covered by some vet benefit. For Pete's sake, it's like the only dang perq you get besides surviving!

Oh, and file.

Marsha said...

I had to file over medical years ago. I've lived through it, and yes, credit can be rebuilt later.

Of course, I filed prior to the new laws. Like Jay, I don't know what those are.

It does beat the endless harassing phone calls though.

Robin said...

This is something, thankfully, I don't know much about but I hope it works out for you. You're a good guy. I also hope you find a bunny under your couch, alive of course.

dr.alistair said...

serial killers pick up women easily because they know they can shoot thier way out!

April said...

What I don't get is if you have SIGNED payment arrangements that you've been paying, how can they send you to collections? I think that's against the law, no? If you have something signed and they've went bad on that, I'd write them threatening letters involving the word attorney often. Attach copies of those agreements to the letters and then see what happens.

If not, then file. Lots of good people who got in bad situations have done it. Not all people who file are assholes who bought things they couldn't afford.

Grant said...

All - I filed. I can now start keeping my money. I should be able to save enough in one month to make back what I spent on bunny attorney fees.