Hi - My dad will be 90 in January. This past year he was in the hospital 4 times. Hee had 3 ambulance trips, and a bunch of doctor's visits.
Of course, we have been inundated with bills. He has no income besides SS. He doesn't own any property, and his only assets are about $3000 in the bank, and a car with 165,000 miles on it that currently cannot pass a safety inspection. He also has a $5000 VA death benefit policy.
I should also point out that he cannot cook for himself, drive himself, or be alone anymore. Anytime I am not able to be there, he has to hire paid help. The costs for restaurants / caregivers/ companions/ transportation have left us shellshocked. He is spending $1000 plus most weeks, including his many medications, and has depleted his savings.
At the advice of friends he has been paying each of his creditors at least $10 a month. Many of the smaller bills have been paid off. Most of the larger creditors have been fine with it, too. They understand he is on a fixed income and know he has been very ill.
Two of them though, have been a big problem. The first is an ambulance company that took my father 3 miles from his doctor to the hospital. From what I can tell they were paid about $550 by insurance and billed my dad an additional $167. They demanded immediate payment in full, when I asked them to send me a breakdown of the costs, and why it was so much?, they immediately sent to collections.
The second is a hospital. They have sent as many as seven separate bills in a month. My dad has paid $10 on each one, two have been paid off. The remainder total about $850, I'm guessing, because when I called them they would not verify that there will be no additional bills pending...
So, I told them about my dad's finances, and that he could continue to pay $10/month on each of the outstanding bills, and that would be $40 a month total.
Nope. They threatened collections. They don't seem to understand that he owes money to numerous other doctors and services too. They just want all theirs NOW.
My dad needs a hospital bed, and other things for six months now. His doctor has tried to get insurance to approve them, they keep saying they "aren't medically necessary." The cost for everything would be at least $8000. My dad is very uncomfortable and hardly can get any sleep because of COPD and pain, but he is willing to without the bed and other things because he is trying to pay all of his creditors. He has even asked me to sell his car, or offer it to the hospital to settle his bills there.
I don't know what to do. I am already supporting him as much as I can, or he would have NO money for these bills. My friend tells me that if the hospital sends him to collections he should refuse any further payment and work on the bills that aren't in collections, so his credit doesn't get dinged any worse? I have no idea what to do any longer.