Hospital bill and CC question

So I have a large medical bill at the moment. We make just over the limit for them to put a hold on the amount and write it off.

Husband and I make too little to pay for insurance premiums every month, although he is now receiving insurance through his employer but to add me it would cost us $650.00 per month with a $3900.00 ded. This is now what I am looking at… $15,000.00 I really don’t want it to go to collections but right now I can’t afford to make 100 payments every month.

My credit cards are maxed out (husband wasn’t working for a while so my CC’s are maxed out and the interest is killing me.

I feel like I am drowning in debt (literally) and I could really use some finance advice on how to dig myself out of this. I have searched for new CC’s with a 0 interest but because of having high balances on multiple cards my credit score has now gone in the dump.

To say I am frustrated is saying it lightly.

I do make my CC payments on time but with all my CC debt I have NOTHING left over on payday to even think about paying off a hospital bill.

I am not afraid to work hard on this and I do not expect to receive anything for free. I just need a little insight to see if there is an easier way to dig myself out of this.

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There is quite a lot of counsel online regarding negotiating medical bills down. Perhaps if you could lower your total bill your monthly payments would also reach an affordable level.

Negotiating medical bills down


You might consider asking to speak with the hospital’s Patient Advocate for assistance (if it’s a hospital bill) and if that does not help, perhaps you should speak with the billing manager to see if you can be put on a payment plan. I remember an old thread from the bogleheads forum when someone in a similar situation asked and was put on an 18 month interest-free payment plan. Of course, if you indeed have “NOTHING” left over on payday as you indicate, perhaps you and/or your spouse needs to get a 2nd job (there are a lot of unfilled jobs out there… some with sign-up bonuses). From what I hear, it’s very difficult to negotiate medical debt if you allow it to go to collections.


It doesn’t help your current bill, and you didn’t state your income level, but I’d be really surprised if you couldn’t get yourself insurance for free or close to free.

You may be able to benefit from a debt consolidation loan - lower interest than credit cards, and only one payment to deal with each month. But you will have to be way more specific if you want help beyond some vague, generic suggestions.


I’m currently looking at part-time 2nd job and will most likely accept it - with my medical issues at the moment I have to make sure I’m 100% up for it.

Income level for myself is 34,000.00 a year
Husband’s income is right around the same (now - he just started in March).

Insurance premiums for our income bracket are between 650-1500.00 (on the marketplace)

The problem lies with not only the medical bills (I fell in January and messed some things up on my body) but with my husband being out of work for almost 2 years I fell into the quicksand of debt and have been fighting to pull myself out.

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Have you worked out a budget to see where you can reduce expenses? If you haven’t already, take a long hard look to see what you’re spending money on each month and make the necessary choices to eliminate what you can and make changes to reduce monthly expenses. Perhaps that plus a second job (even part-time) for both you AND your spouse, as well as a payment plan on the medical bills, will help you successfully pay off your debt more quickly so that you can get your head above water.


Short term you’ve got cashflow problem with too much debt. What are all your debts and expenses?

Longer term you should look to get health insurance one way or the other. Maybe find another job that has insurance. Or at least revisit the marketplace. With your income levels you really should be eligible for a subsidy to get the net cost closer to $300/mo.

What kind of jobs do you work? Maybe you can job hunt for better pay.

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Good news. Because of the 2nd thing you said, the 1st thing doesn’t matter. Plus, you don’t have an option here. Forget the medical bill (for now).

Pay these expenses in order
Credit Card with highest interest or Credit Card with lowest balance (if interest rates are all similar)
Credit Cards with descending interest or Credit cards with ascending balances (if interest rates are all similar)

Then you can think about paying your medical bill. Having your medical bill go to collections isn’t going to hurt you and it may actually help you (because bill collectors often accept pennies on the dollar).

After you have that bill payment scheme figured out, figure out ways to lower some of those bills.

Move somewhere cheaper
Clip coupons and shop only at discount stores
Sell your car and drive something cheaper
Get a cheaper phone plan

If you aren’t willing to do the work to lower your monthly expenses by doing those 4 basic things, you will never get out from under your debt.

With nearly $70k income, is your struggle due to the credit card bills/debt payments? What are those balances, in addition to the $15k medical debt?

If it’ll get your monthly finances back on track, bankruptcy is always an option. In fact your situation starts to sound like the whole reason bankruptcy exists.


There’s no dishonor in filing BK. That’s what it’s for. If you don’t have any assets to protect, I’d look into it. Maybe you could file it solo and leave your husband’s credit alone? Worth looking into.

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Late to the party, but have you ever heard of Dave Ramsey. Although he’s not my favorite investment guru, his get out of debt advice seems to be popular, successful, and I’ve known two families to utilize it successfully and happily,

I’m not advocating that you buy any of his plans, or even use any of his recommended advisors. However, you could listen to a few hours of his show, if it’s still on, and look on the internet for his basic plans. That should open your eyes and point you on a path to much less indebtedness.

His advice, while stark, seems very similar to the few successful weight loss programs I’ve heard – if you eat/earn more than you burn/spend, you’re going to gain weight/savings. :smile:

I wish you the best of luck. I grew up in an “in debt” environment. After strict discipline (to a fault), It feels wonderful to not worry about finances.


Yes, join the party. OP this topic has an abundance of good ideas, suggestions from our folks that can certainly get you’all off to a start.

Strict discipline, follow a budget. You folks getting into so much debt, you’ll get free. Follow these Fragile Posters.

Honkinggoose, stop leaving!


Rice n beans. Beans n rice.

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Head, meet nail.

Hit me over the head a few times, and I might be able to do both. :wink:

I don’t leave except twice a year. Any other absences are due to a heavy workload (paid, home, and/or volunteer). :wink: