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Can they take your house away from you?

  1. Jan 14, 2006 #1
    I live in the US. I make only 1,200 dollars a month (I work in a small company) no health insurance but I own a small 2 bedroom house where I live. I get sick and have to stay 2 weeks in a hospital, then after I get home and they charge me 100,000 dollars. I can't pay, can they take my home away from me ?

    3 possibilites:

    1) I go to jail, but I think US laws says I can't for debt

    2) I can make a deal with the hospital and only pay back 2 or 3 thousand dollars by a small monthly sum.

    3) they take my house , get posession of my home

    What do you all think happens ? This has always been a vague situation, does anyone know exactly what happens in these cases ? Thanks for any input.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 14, 2006 #2


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    It is not a criminal offense to not pay off a debt. Hospitals will always try to work out a plan with you and at the very worst (especially if you refuse ot pay period), they will take your house if they are able to secure a lean on it.... or osmething like that, im not entirely sure!

    What I think they do is they would put a lean on your house as part of the payment plan. If you stick to the plan, it'll all work out but if you do not meet your obligations under the plan you agree on with the hospital, they will take your house.... but its usually a very last resort measure.
  4. Jan 14, 2006 #3
    Would I have to pay back the entire 100,000 dollars ? even with a 30 year loan that would be 300 dollars a month, I couldn't afford it at all, I am only making 1,200 dollars a month.
  5. Jan 14, 2006 #4


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    I think this is a very big "depends." Most states have a fund that helps to pay for unishured peoples' health care. You should also look into Medicaid/Medicare. You would most likely have to pay something, but not the whole bill. I am definitely not an expert in this area. There are definitely options out there though.
  6. Jan 14, 2006 #5


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    Medicaid is the federal/state program for poor. Check into qualifications -
    http://www.cms.hhs.gov/home/medicaid.asp. And as Fred Garvin mentioned, check your state's programs for assistance.

    But Medicaid does not cover after the fact.

    If one's debts exceed the ability to pay, one can file bankruptcy, and have most debt erased. However the Bush administration and Congress have made that more difficult for the poor.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2017
  7. Jan 14, 2006 #6


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    Don't worry, those of us with insurance are paying your bills. That's why premiums are so high, because hospitals offset those bills that don't get paid with higher fees to those with insurance that will get paid.

    So, what you do, is you talk to the billing department at the hospital and tell them there's absolutely no way you can pay the bill (they aren't going to be surprised by this...people who can afford a $100,000 bill usually have health insurance), but you're willing to work out a payment plan with them. They'll be happy to recover whatever they can. Before you go in, think about what you can realistically afford as a monthly payment so you'll be able to tell them you can pay $25 or $50 or $100 every month. Yeah, you'll be paying it for the rest of your life, but you won't be harrassed by bill collectors every two weeks if you work out a payment plan, and won't have to file bankruptcy (they know that if you file bankruptcy, they'll never see any of that money, so it's better for them to get small payments than none).
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