If I am uninsured, can my house be collected to pay bills

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Guest: Yeah. Um, I was wondering if, um, I’m going through some medical problems right now and I’m uninsured. I was just wondering if, um, if the hospital, were they based all that to a collection agency, if they could take your house?

Justin: Yeah. You have a debt that you owe them that they’re trying to collect or no, you’re just worrying about in the future.

Guest: Well, I mean, um, it was an emergency room visit that was necessary and they found some things that they recommended that I have other services to check and see if, I guess there’s cancer and other parts of my body. And I’m um, I’m, I’m afraid to, to go through with those medical procedures cause um, I’m on insured at this time and I’m wondering it can take, take our house.

Justin: Well, Eh, they, they, they have to do an awful lot to get to that point. I mean, generally they’re going to have to try to collect that debt. If they can’t collect it or they then sue you. If they get a judgment against you and your house is free and clear, they could then lean the property and then try to take it after that. But um, at this point you’re, you’re a long ways from that. And if it ever did get to that point, um, there, there is bankruptcy relief available that you maybe you qualify for that’ll be able to wipe all that debt out as well before it got to the point of losing your home.

Brian: So justin, uh, bankruptcy is really a national in nature, but federally, yeah, there’s a state, uh, there’s a state aspect to it, isn’t there?

Justin: Yeah, there are state aspects as far as you know, the income levels where you can file, who can file, who can’t for chapter seven versus chapter 13. Um, and what items you can keep versus which ones may be, uh, exempted, which ones are gonna be exempted versus which ones you may get rid of. But the general idea is the same everywhere at chapter seven is a liquidation of all of your debts and you try to keep all of your stuff. That’s the whole goal. And you get an attorney who can exempt all your assets. It’s about 90 days start to finish. You do a creditor’s exam and then you’re done. Um, so that would be an option if you do end up having to go forward with these procedures and then you can’t pay for them and people start trying to collect them bankruptcy’s out there. That’s what it’s for. And I hate to see anyone not getting a health care because they can’t afford it.

Brian: Hey Justin, have you had experience with people, uh, defending against medical bills and things like that, that really too old to collect?

Justin: Yeah, absolutely. A lot. A lot of times my advice, uh, to, to older folks is, you know, you’re kind of uncollectable if you don’t have anything that they can take. If you can’t garnish your wages, then you know, you can’t get blood from a stone. So there’s a lot of folks that are simply uncollectable and, uh, they won’t go after you. The other thing is medical debt. Medical debt is a little different than credit card debt. Credit card debt, they’ll try to collect it and they sell it off. They might get 10 cents, they might get 15 cents medical debt. When they sell it off, they’re getting, we’re talking tenths of a penny, you know, you know the, there’s nothing, these things are sold for dirt cheap. So there’s often an opportunity to, to settle large amounts for very, very little money. But what before you do that, the biggest thing you have to do is make sure that the person trying to collect it from you is actually the, the holder of that debt and they’re actually entitled to collect it. Cause the last you want to do is pay off a debt and think, hey, I’ve got a great deal. And then Lo and behold, here comes a real credit holder, the real person who has the debt and they tried to sue you cause there’s a ton of that going on. We all know the cheesy scams out there, there’s a phone calls, there’s all this garbage that’s going on. Um, so definitely make sure you validate that debt and make sure that those people are the ones who are able to collect it before you settle it. But those are all options out there. You can settle it, you can dispute it, you can fight it and you can file bankruptcy.

Guest: Can I ask one more question?

Justin: Absolutely.

Guest: The, um, the house, um, is it’s its owned 50, 50 by both myself and a sibling.

Justin: Okay.

Guest: Um, how would they, I mean, you know, worst comes to worst, how would they handle that.

Justin: Yeah. Be really difficult for a creditor to take that here in Michigan. If you tried to do that, you’d have to pay that creditor off and sometimes she’d be even exempt from trying to do that. So you’re a long way from any of that happening. Um, are you getting collection notices at this point or no?

Guest: No, no, not at this point. Okay. You know, wondering what’s down the road.

Justin: Yeah. I think, I think you’ll be all right. I mean obviously if you can get health insurance all the better to try to mitigate those damages and you don’t try to head that off at the past,

Guest: there’s a reason why I don’t have insurance. Um, so long story that you guys probably don’t have time for that. Um,

Brian: we always have time for the good people in Missouri.

Guest: Well, I make too much to qualify for Medicaid and I’m too little to qualify for subsidies for ’em even the bronze plan. Um, I’ve got the back condition, which was noted on the hospital CT scan that I had. Um, and it makes it very hard to be, to do type of job that I do, but, um, I’ll get two, three, four or five jobs that, that’s what it takes to try and pay this off. But I’m, um, I’m dealing with some bad back problems too, which is going to kind of, you know, so stuck between a rock and a hard place.