TJC Story Blog

Feb 2021

Medical Debt Story – Anonymous

“About three months ago I had to go to the Baptist Memorial Hospital ER twice for the first time in my life. I am on Social Security disability. I live with my mother and have most of my life. I have also been her primary caregiver for at least the past 8 years. I am 42. Even though my income has always been meager, because my mother’s income has covered most of the bills, I have been able to save and prepare for the inevitable day that is coming soon when my mother will go into a nursing home. She will go in under Medicaid. After massive research I’m 90% sure they won’t seize our property until after I die, but that is another story. My Social Security Payment is about $1100/month. After the monthly bills I will have 50-80$ to cover all other expenses including food. Whatever savings I have accumulated at the time my mother either goes into long term care or dies, whichever comes first, will have to last me the rest of my life. I will never again have the extra income to save money. Those savings will have to cover things like home/auto repairs, food and any other unforeseen expenses for the rest of my life. I am falling into a loophole repeatedly. I don’t qualify for TN Care. I don’t qualify for SNAP. I don’t think I will qualify for Baptist’s charity program. All because I had the foresight to prepare for the future. I only have Medicare part A because I will not be able to afford the extra monthly expense of part B. All the charges I received from the hospital were listed as Part B. Medicare only covered a measly $245. I filed an appeal with Medicare about 3 weeks ago and still have not heard back. I informed Baptist of the appeal and they said they would put a note on my account but that did not stop them from sending me what is supposedly the final bill before the debt goes to a collection agency and I could potentially be sued. I tried once to apply for the Baptist charity program but apparently did not complete the form properly. I am going to try again. I had always been told that the only thing unpaid medical debt can do is ruin your credit. If I had known the truth, I would never have gone to the hospital and I definitely will never go again.”