Posts Tagged ‘collections’

Hospitals do not want this to get out,,,, they make people suffer for greed, money, corporation!!!

NPR: part two;
“They’re Greedy’

Back in 2005, Keith Herie was working as a truck driver making about $30,000 a year. His wife, Kathleen, was a stay-at-home mom with their two kids. The couple says they couldn’t afford health insurance and Keith’s employer didn’t offer it.

But sometimes you have to go to the hospital anyway. That’s what happened when Kathleen doubled over with a burst appendix and needed an emergency operation. “I felt sharp pains, I was vomiting, I was running a fever,” she says. “It was bad.”

That operation meant upwards of $14,000 in medical bills. It was a staggering debt for the Heries. They say the hospital told them they could apply for financial aid, but when he went to inquire about that, Keith says, “they basically told me I made too much.”

Just a few months after the operation, the hospital expanded its charity care policy. The Heries, given their income, would have qualified under the new policy. But the hospital didn’t make the change retroactive.

In 2006, the hospital sued the Heries and got a court judgment against them for the full bill plus legal fees — more than $18,000 in total. Ever since, the hospital has been taking 10 percent out of Keith Herie’s paychecks.

He says that has also hurt his credit score. “Where I should be making a $250-a-month car payment, I’m making $368 in payments,” he says. Likewise, the mar on his credit has prevented him from refinancing his mortgage to take advantage of lower interest rates. “It affects everything,” Keith says.

To make some more money, Kathleen Herie got a low-wage retail job at Sam’s Club. But then Heartland hospital began seizing 25 percent of her paychecks after taxes — meaning both she and her husband were now getting their pay docked at the maximum level allowed under state and federal law. On top of that, the hospital placed a lien against their home — which also prevents them from refinancing. According to a Heartland operations memo, this is done in all cases in which the company has won a judgment exceeding $1,000.

They’re greedy,” Kathleen says. “I owe more in interest on those bills than I do the bill alone.”

Court records show that the couple has now paid more than $15,000 on this debt. But because the hospital has been charging them 9 percent interest on that large bill for going on 10 years now, the interest has added up — so the couple still owes $10,000 more.

“It’s like a never-never plan,” Keith says. “You’re never going to get rid of it and you’re never going to get ahead of it.”

Is Seizing Wages Worth The Effort For Hospitals?

As far as the hospital’s finances go — it’s doing well. Heartland made $605 million in gross revenues last year, and $45 million of that was profit. “We’ve been very successful in terms of being profitable and being a good community asset,” says Tama Wagner, chief brand officer for Heartland.


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