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Any advice of preventing a medical garnishment

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Hello. I have read a bit on the WHY Chat HIPAA guide and other useful posts but my situation is new and has not yet been turned over to collections.


I recently moved back home to take care of an ill parent. The sudden decline in their health gave me an opportunity to move out of state and back in with them. Unfortunately, I was injured and used a hospital. I have no health insurance or job at this time to cover the charges. I was put on a bank account of my parent to cover their funeral costs when they pass as the account has enough to pay for a gravesite marker and basic service.


The bill I received was from a non profit hospital for about 5k. I noticed the hospital already has run my credit three times on TU since the ER visit happened two months ago. I am concerned with them using aggressive tactics to recover but without a job or insurance, not sure what else to do. I plan to file for charity care but do not want the assets in my parent's account to be garnished for my hospitalization. This debt is recent enough it has not been turned over to a CA yet. I have an out of state current ID from a closed border debt state, an IRA with about 3k, a bank account which receives my unemployment that is about to run out and am a joint owner on my father's account although those funds are earmarked for funeral costs.


Are there any actions to take to increase my chances of getting charity care and/or avoiding a garnishment?


Thank you for any advice.

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What was the date of your injury?? Was there ANY type of insurance involved?? (auto? workmans compensation?)

Did the hospital offer you assistance?? They are required by law to do so. Contact the hospital and tell them your situation. If your parents are primary on the joint account, ( with their SS#) then there is NO way of the account being garnished for your debts. Pension funds and IRAs are generally exempt from any seizure, the only exception would be an INHERITED IRA. Apply for assistance through the affordable care act, you will likely qualify for assistance if you have no income or assailable assets.


Meanwhile-- follow the guide:



Come back here for additional assistance.


You should also speak to an elder law attorney ( with your parents) to make sure that your and their situation is completely taken care of. They need a living will as well as a regular will so that in the event of medical situations you would be allowed to administer to their needs. You too need to make sure that if you have further medical problems there is someone to take over their and your responsibilities.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you both for the helpful posts.


Re: Cosmos Human

I have started the application for charity care. I am not able to get medicaid. Obamacare is $150+ per month as I looked into this and even being unemployed all year, there is no waiver available. The charity care application does not mention anything about the ambulance and I have been unable to get a response regarding that bill.


Re: Why Chat

The date of injury was 04/28/2016 and no insurance of any kind was involved. This was hopefully a one time thing as I broke a glass window trying to fix the screen and sliced open my arm. I couldn't get the bleeding to stop and went to the ER.


My parent is primary on the joint account but the bank has both of our SSN's. The charity care application asks for records of all bank accounts/credit union accounts/etc from the trailing 3 months so I do not know how they research this or if omitting accounts will be discovered.


It is premature for the Why Chat HIPAA dispute method as this has not hit collections. Regarding the other steps, I have already permanently opted out and mailed in the form months ago which is a great idea for most people.


I met with an elder care attorney who is advising on Medicare/Medicaid for mom and that is a whole other obstacle. I serve as POA for her medically and financially. Her hospitalization and related surgery and rehab options are about to be cut off but that is another topic.



Before I submit this final step of paperwork for the charity care, what advice do you have regarding reporting or not reporting the bank account with a parent. All of my bank accounts are under $200 but the one with a parent has $15k. I cashed out half my IRA (not inherited) and have been using that to float me while taking care of my parent during their illness. I know it is unwise to cash out under 59 1/2 but without any income it was the only way I could return back to my home state.

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  • 5 months later...

I finally heard back this month in writing that I was denied charity care. There was no reasoning given nor a chance to appeal and no contact information. I have no income and am not eligible for Medicaid and am still a full time caregiver to my mother. Any last ditch tips as I do not want to be sued or (when I finally get back to work some time next year) garnished.


Thanks for any help.

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Thanks for the replies. I'll keep pestering for a response or way to appeal but I'm afraid I'll be sued or sent to collections/garnished. I noticed they checked my credit without my permission, should I just expect to be garnished when I finally start working?

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IF you are sued ( which I doubt) only those assets which are YOURS can be touched. If you are on any joint accounts or caretakers accounts with your parents, those assets can NOT be touched. IF you are sued you may get a judgment against YOU but your parents assets in your control can NOT be touched.


I suggest you put your own credit situation in order by following this guide:




As to the medical charges from the hospital for your injuries. Those are GROSS charges, not net charges. If you were insured, or if you had the ability to pay the account off you would find the correct fees here:


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Before I do anything else, I'll re read through the guidebook again and make sure that is all in order. If they don't sue me over the $2300 they billed, I will just deal with the credit hit. I was worried most about them coming after the joint account especially since they ran an inquiry on my credit report but your response has minimized that concern.Thank you very much.

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