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Established Contributor
valley_man0505
Posts: 879
Registered: ‎05-29-2008

Best way to deal with ex-wife's med bills

I have brought this topic up before, but now that even more of her bills have been popping up on my credit, I would like to hear some opinions again.  My ex-wife racked up a lot of med bills while we were married, including a major surgery.  I have been dealing with a CA reporting about 5 of these to TU for quite some time, but they have not been on my other reports.  Now, not only did 5 ADDITIONAL accounts from the CA show up, but they also started reporting to all 3 CB's and all of my scores have tanked now.
 
I am still trying to understand why I am even responsible for these bills in the first place, but apparently I am responsible for the unpaid balance not covered by insurance since I was the primary policy holder at the time.  I have a divorce decree stating she is responsible for her bills, but it looks like the only way that would do me any good is if I sued her for the money--suing her would be even more pointless than trying to squeeze blood from a turnip and it would create too much tension between us (I don't want our daughter to go through us fighting).
 
Well, I have kind of accepted the fact that I am going to be financially responsible for these bills.  However, it just doesn't seem like they should be allowed to tank my credit for her &*#*&.  Is there anything that would prevent them from being able to report these bills to MY credit since I was not the patient.  Doesn't this qualify as "misleading"? 
 
Right now there are a total of 10 different accounts reporting, so you can imagine what that is doing to my scores--especially since they are all reporting recent.  My baddies are all almost 6 years old and my history has been spotless for the past 3-4 years, but my scores are screwed because of her.  Should I just HIPAA and hope they are deleted due to a different patient's name?
Contributor
raine22
Posts: 93
Registered: ‎03-27-2007

Re: Best way to deal with ex-wife's med bills

Just from my own experience -
 
I had medical/dental bills showing up after my divorce that belonged to my x-husband and all I had to do was mail a copy of the divorce papers to the CA stating that he was the responsible person for his own medical debt even though I carried the medical insurance through work since he was self-employed and they removed the debt from my name and put it in his name!
 
 
Established Contributor
valley_man0505
Posts: 879
Registered: ‎05-29-2008

Re: Best way to deal with ex-wife's med bills



raine22 wrote:
Just from my own experience -
 
I had medical/dental bills showing up after my divorce that belonged to my x-husband and all I had to do was mail a copy of the divorce papers to the CA stating that he was the responsible person for his own medical debt even though I carried the medical insurance through work since he was self-employed and they removed the debt from my name and put it in his name!
 
 



I tried that about a year ago when I talked to the CA (I didn't know about the HIPAA process then).  They told me they didn't care what the divorce decree said, I was still responsible in their eyes.  My lawyer agreed that they could attempt to collect the debt--I don't know if they would actually have grounds to sue me, though.  I never really specifically asked him that come to think of it.
Moderator Emeritus
fused
Posts: 16,243
Registered: ‎03-12-2007

Re: Best way to deal with ex-wife's med bills

When were the dates of service for these med collections? Hospital or doctor bills? Unpaid? If so, can you afford to pay them off in full?
Established Contributor
valley_man0505
Posts: 879
Registered: ‎05-29-2008

Re: Best way to deal with ex-wife's med bills

[ Edited ]
Most of the bills are hospital bills from within the last 1-2 years.  There is one bill that is almost 6 years old, but this one is only $48.
 
There has been a new wrinkle since yesterday.  I received a letter saying that since I have ignored the calls from the CA, they are giving me 7 days to PIF or they are going to pursue litigation.  I know this is the kind of thing you here often from CA's, but I think they are for real with this threat. 
 
Now, whenever anyone talks about the HIPAA process, all you ever hear is "don't talk with the CA".  However, it is starting to look like talking with the CA and making arrangments will be the only way to avoid a lawsuit.  The total of all accounts is almost $4,000--only about $400 of that is from me and/or my daughter--the rest is my ex-wife.  I would love to pay them if I could afford it--they are killing my scores and, since they are med bills, I could actually have them deleted from my reports once paid.
 
Is there a chance that the hospital(s) would pull it out of collections if I talk to them and set up payment arrangements directly with them?  I can not afford to pay the bill.  In fact, I am already being sued by NCO for a CC CO they purchased and I haven't even figured out what I am going to do about that--my court date is in 2 weeks for that one.
 
Bankruptcy is starting to look better and better.  However, other than the med bills, all of my baddies will be reaching SOL in the next 1-2 years and will also all reach CRTP within 3 years.  I'd LOVE to find a way to survive the next year or two rather than have a BK blemish for 7 years.


Message Edited by valley_man0505 on 09-24-2008 05:57 AM
Established Contributor
valley_man0505
Posts: 879
Registered: ‎05-29-2008

Re: Best way to deal with ex-wife's med bills

Well, I tried contacting the OC (hospital) to see if they could pull my accounts back out of collection and allow me to make payment arrangements on them.  They said they can not do that and that I need to contact the CA about any payment arrangements.  I told them that I had concerns about going through the CA, primarily that I will not be able to get these accounts removed from my credit report once they are paid if I pay the CA.  She said "you're right, they will be reported as a paid collection once the are paid off".
 
What can I do?  I have checked every resource possible and am now FULLY convinced that I am responsible for my ex-wife's bills whether I like it or not, so I have no choice but to pay them.  However, there is absolutely no way I can even remotely hope to PIF at this time.  The only way I can avoid litigation right now is to make arrangements with the CA.  If I do that, is there ANY way that I can ensure that I can have the accounts removed from the CRA's?
 
I am desperate for help here.  I was planning to buy a new house soon.  If I get a judgement I am screwed.
Moderator Emeritus
fused
Posts: 16,243
Registered: ‎03-12-2007

Re: Best way to deal with ex-wife's med bills

You are only afforded protection under HIPAA if the unpaid debts are reported as collections. Public records are exempt from HIPAA, so having a recorded judgment for a bad medical debt reporting on your reports will kill ya. Extremely difficult to have removed. Working with the CA to avoid a suit might be your best option.
Established Contributor
valley_man0505
Posts: 879
Registered: ‎05-29-2008

Re: Best way to deal with ex-wife's med bills

I had to make a deal with the devil today.  Went to the CA's office.  At least they pretended they care, but they weren't very good at it.  They set me up on a payment plan and they promised they will show the accounts as paid in full once ALL of them are paid in full.  They will not delete on a payment plan.  They said they can't delete unless I PIF in one lump sum.  That doesn't sound right to me.  It sounds like they are just trying to dangle a carrot in front of me with a PFD option to get me to pay in one lump sum.  I don't see any reason why they would not be able to delete after everything is paid on a payment plan.  Am I a missing something here?
Moderator Emeritus
fused
Posts: 16,243
Registered: ‎03-12-2007

Re: Best way to deal with ex-wife's med bills

A collection agency does not have to agree to a PFD. Although a med collection marked as paid on a report is suppose to be deleted, you are not in a postion to force the CA to delete using the HIPAA letter process. Sending a CA a DV letter for paid collections while you still owe on others that you can PIF could land you in some real hot. I think you are doing the right thing, although I think it stinks.
Established Contributor
valley_man0505
Posts: 879
Registered: ‎05-29-2008

Re: Best way to deal with ex-wife's med bills

Why exactly is it that a med collection can stay on a report after it is paid if it paid through the CA rather than the OC.  That is one thing I have never understood about the HIPAA rules.  If it is paid, it is paid.  Why does it matter who to?  After it is paid through the CA, why should the CA have any business purpose for the information anymore?

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