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Serious trouble - medical bills

Serious trouble - medical bills

Old Dec 28th 2009, 11:24 pm
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Default Serious trouble - medical bills

I'm not strictly an expat. My husband is a US citizen and we live in the UK. He's finishing his PhD, so he has student status and qualifies for NHS treatment when we're home.

We were due back to see his family in America for Christmas, and just less than a week before we were due to fly he broke his arm. The hospital at home said he was ok to fly, but during the flight his arm started to swell, and paramedics took him straight from the gate when we landed in the US. Upon arrival they found some other things wrong with him... worrying bloody test etc. They sedated him and admitted him to an ICU. He was there for 5 days.
Also, they're talking about doing surgery on his arm (the fracture has worsened, apparently).

I'm seriously freaked out about what the hospital bill is going to come to. He's out of the ICU, but not out of the hospital yet. Six different doctors come to see him every day and ask the same damn questions. Each, I suppose, will be submitting a bill for this privilege?

I can't believe we could come here for the arm and then be here for so long. I didn't even have the choice not to admit him.

Some Christmas!
What can I do? People keep saying we'll be saddled with enormous bill, as though it's the most normal, most inconsequential thing in the world. This can't be happening!
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Old Dec 28th 2009, 11:41 pm
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Default Re: Serious trouble - medical bills

I take it from your comments you didn't buy travel insurance before you left the UK.

All you can do it wait and see what the final hospital bill comes to and negotiate with them to reduce the amount. One thing does come to mind. If we wasn't fit to travel and the UK hospital were negligent in saying he was a visit to a solicitor back in the UK might be in order.
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Old Dec 28th 2009, 11:45 pm
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Default Re: Serious trouble - medical bills

Originally Posted by Unlucky275 View Post
What can I do? People keep saying we'll be saddled with enormous bill, as though it's the most normal, most inconsequential thing in the world. This can't be happening!
1/ Pay it.
2/ Pay it after negotiating the price down. Start by offering 10%.
3/ Ignore it and it will die after seven years if they don't get you in court.
4/ Declare bankruptcy.

Maybe too late but don't go signing responsibility for the debt. It's bad enough getting it off one person's shoulders. If they have their claws into both of you, it'll be twice as difficult.
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Old Dec 28th 2009, 11:51 pm
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Default Re: Serious trouble - medical bills

Originally Posted by fatbrit View Post
2/ Pay it after negotiating the price down. Start by offering 10%.
Just trying to be clear...do you mean start by offering to pay 10% of the bill? Or start by offering to pay the bill at 10% off?

Rene
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Old Dec 28th 2009, 11:59 pm
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Default Re: Serious trouble - medical bills

Originally Posted by lansbury View Post
I take it from your comments you didn't buy travel insurance before you left the UK.
No, in the lead-up to Christmas each of us thought the other had done it.

It's a pretty harsh punishment for forgetfulness.
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Old Dec 29th 2009, 12:12 am
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Default Re: Serious trouble - medical bills

Originally Posted by Noorah101 View Post
Just trying to be clear...do you mean start by offering to pay 10% of the bill? Or start by offering to pay the bill at 10% off?

Rene
I mean 10% of the bill.
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Old Dec 29th 2009, 12:15 am
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Default Re: Serious trouble - medical bills

Originally Posted by Unlucky275 View Post
No, in the lead-up to Christmas each of us thought the other had done it.

It's a pretty harsh punishment for forgetfulness.
Surely your US husband knew the score over here?
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Old Dec 29th 2009, 12:19 am
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Default Re: Serious trouble - medical bills

Originally Posted by fatbrit View Post
I mean 10% of the bill.
Thanks.
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Old Dec 29th 2009, 1:07 am
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Default Re: Serious trouble - medical bills

Originally Posted by Unlucky275 View Post
No, in the lead-up to Christmas each of us thought the other had done it.

It's a pretty harsh punishment for forgetfulness.
I'm not even sure travel insurance would have covered this as most policies have a a pre-existing condition rider for anywhere from 30-180 days. Best bet as others have said is offer a very small % of the total bill (I am always shocked at what insurance companies actually pay compared to the bill that comes in) or take advice from a solicitor about recourse with the Dr/Hospital who said he was OK to fly in the first place. Some solicitors will do an initial hour consult 'pro bono' so it may cost you nothing to at least get a read on this.

Importantly, hope he is doing OK now - how very scary for you both.
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Old Dec 29th 2009, 1:24 am
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Default Re: Serious trouble - medical bills

Have you got a Credit Card some of them may well cover part of this incident
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Old Dec 29th 2009, 1:52 am
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Default Re: Serious trouble - medical bills

Originally Posted by Lottie View Post
Importantly, hope he is doing OK now - how very scary for you both.
He is doing better now, thank you, though it was very frightening for a while. Such a shock.

Thank you for your advice too. I will try negotiating and we'll pay it off slowly.

I'll also investigate American Express.. as we did pay for the tickets with that credit card - thanks
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Old Dec 29th 2009, 2:01 am
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Default Re: Serious trouble - medical bills

Originally Posted by Unlucky275 View Post
He is doing better now, thank you, though it was very frightening for a while. Such a shock.

Thank you for your advice too. I will try negotiating and we'll pay it off slowly.

I'll also investigate American Express.. as we did pay for the tickets with that credit card - thanks
Do that - I travel on American Express insurance. There is medical insurance there as well. Not sure about pre existing conditions etc.

Hope it all goes well.
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Old Dec 29th 2009, 2:04 am
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Default Re: Serious trouble - medical bills

ICU, a few days?

I hate to say it, but this is going to be huge. Seriously, we're talking six figures here. $100,000 easily. Here is a post by someone with 3 days in an ICU and it was $460,000

http://britishexpats.com/forum/showt...&highlight=icu

You won't be paying this off on installments more than likely. If he is on a low or no-income, he might (unlikely) qualify for some medical assistance (Medicaid) but there are probably all sorts of residency requirements on that.

My advice would be to seek some professional legal assistance once this is sorted.

(and yes, huge bills are common in the US for those without insurance, and many of them simply declare bankruptcy and force those with insurance to pick up the tab with added costs for their procedures, premiums, etc. This, as you can probably gather, leads to some rather hard feelings on those left with the bill).
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Old Dec 29th 2009, 10:49 am
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Default Re: Serious trouble - medical bills

Originally Posted by Lottie View Post
I'm not even sure travel insurance would have covered this as most policies have a a pre-existing condition rider for anywhere from 30-180 days.
I think most UK travel insurances would cover something like this, as long as one could prove that according to a UK doctor he had been fit to travel.
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Old Dec 29th 2009, 1:01 pm
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Default Re: Serious trouble - medical bills

Originally Posted by Marocco View Post
I think most UK travel insurances would cover something like this, as long as one could prove that according to a UK doctor he had been fit to travel.
Not necessarily I visited the US after a stomach op and wasn't covered for 12 months and was just under this time frame. Was covered for anything else just not if something happened stomach wise. (was fit to travel just less than 12 months post op)

Best thing would be to check with insurance company before flying or whn taking the policy out. Usually have to declare if you had treatment within the last x months/years and type of treatment
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