2 Questions About Medical Debt And Bankruptcy
Me and my wife just had our first son. We don't have health insurance, plus my wife is a immigrant with a pending adjustment in INS. I signed a agreement with the US government making me financially responsible for all her debts and health coverage in the states till she has a ruling. Our first son was born on 11/03 and we're now looking down the barrle of a 15k to 18k debt of hospital bills, etc...we've been paying the bills a bit at a time, but we're hardly making a dent at times, plus I've been off work for a month taking care of her and the baby (she had a difficult pregnancy and was beridden the two weeks prior and post birth). All of the doctors have me listed as her gurantor/billing payer (whatever you want to call it) so I know that I can file Chap. 7 on them if we have too (most of them are really being helpful on trying to get us on a resonable payment plan). There is one bill collector however that isn't, they've tried to fraud us by adding bills that I had paid off (via insurance I had at the time) onto my wife's bill, or claiming a bills that were paid off (and we have the canceled checks to prove it) did not follow "channels" and they don't have to honor them being paid off; they refuse to believe we are married or that we even had a kid, and they want $1000, which is $200 above the actual debt, they refuse to say to who exactly we owe, and when they do say and we pay them they "lose the check" which usually clears the bank a week later. When I call to take care of the "lost check", or find out why they're calling at 5 and 6 AM, they call me a "asshole" and say "you better be grateful we'll even talk to a ass like you" or when I ask them to double check a figure they say "what are you retarded?" So here are my two questions: 1) Can I file on the company that's beiing abusive, even though they send the bill in my wife's name? I sign all the checks and I have copy's of all the laters that say I'm the sole party responsible for paying her debt. 2) Can medical bills collect any sort of collateral? I mean can they come into our home and take person possessions for the debt? I spoke with an attorney and he said Medical bills are common in bankruptcy and are unsecured bills cause you don't put up any sort of collateral at the time of service. Plus they knew my wife didn't have insurance when they made me responsible for her bills. But still, I'm curious cause I've heard stories of medical bills coming in and demanding possessions and the court saying give it to them. We don't want to file Chap. 7 or 13 if we can avoid it, but if I can't get the bulk of these bills consolidated, I don't see a way around it.
You can include them in your bankruptcy, and if you file jointly, it will wipe it out for certain. If this is a collection agency, there's an easy way to get them to stop calling: Tell them when they call and send it a certified letter, return receipt requested, stating, "Pursuant to section 1692c(c) of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, please cease all communication with me." This will stop everything but two types of communications; telling you that: (1) it will terminate future collection efforts; (2) it may or will invoke specified remedies that are normally invoked by the debt collector (i.e. suing you or sending the case to a lawyer). If it doesn't stop, you've got a dandy of a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act case against it. Only if they sue you and get a judgment first.
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