“After years of struggling with medical debt, things got tragically worse. With one arm that needs immediate surgery, they are evicted from their home of 25 years. While trying to move they are locked out by the realtor. Thieves break in, party for days and steal everything. Then kill her cats.”
Moses Lake, WA – July 15, 2017. Ron Pettell announced today that he has set up a Gofundme campaign to raise Emergency funds for his ex-wife Elizabeth and son Jake. He set a goal of $50,000 to take care of her immediate family needs and medical expenses. Because of circumstances beyond her control, she has lost her health, money and resources. She does everything with one arm, including driving.
“I have no choice. I’ll keep going until I can’t get up anymore.” Elizabeth said to her ex-husband recently in a phone conversation.
Ronald described what they’re experiencing now, “They are struggling to hang on as temperatures reach 101 inside their poorly insulated, $300 per month trailer.” They have no air conditioning. Their windows won’t open. They can’t leave the door open. It’s not safe for Jake to play outside because it’s a bad neighborhood. The users, ex-cons and bikers riding through scare him.
Elizabeth’s story exposes the potential for disaster that many families are facing as they struggle to pay their medical bills. All but those in the highest income brackets are one major medical emergency away from financial difficulties. If that emergency becomes a need for long term care it can lead to financial ruin.
This happened to Elizabeth. This is happening to 20% of working-Age Americans struggling to pay medical bills. Long term care pushes them over the edge. Saving are used to pay premiums, deductibles and other out of pocket expenses. Then credit. Then more credit to pay the interest on the first. The debt keeps climbing until the majority of earnings go to pay minimum interest payments. Insurance eventually becomes too expensive. Then additional medical bills start piling up. Not every bill can be paid. The collectors start calling. Followed by the inevitable judgments and liens. Vehicles are repossessed. All of the workarounds and rescheduling of mortgage debt isn’t enough, foreclosure begins on the house. Then eviction.
A family can work hard, be responsible and still end up homeless and destitute. Inability to pay medical bills is the number one cause. Read the studies.
“New Kaiser/New York Times Survey Finds One in Five Working-Age Americans With Health Insurance Report Problems Paying Medical Bills”
Jan 05, 2016
Among the Insured with Medical Bill Problems, 63% Report Using Up Most or All Their Savings and 42% Took on an Extra Job or Worked More Hours
People with insurance who face problem medical bills also report a wide range of consequences and sacrifices during the past year as a result, including delaying vacations or major household purchases (77%), spending less on food, clothing and basic household items (75%), using up most or all their savings (63%), taking an extra job or working more hours (42%), increasing their credit card debt (38%), borrowing money from family or friends (37%), changing their living situation (14%), and seeking the aid of a charity (11%). These shares generally are as large as or larger than the shares among uninsured people with problem medical bills.
Overall, 62 percent of those who had medical bill problems say the bills were incurred by someone who had health coverage at the time (most often through an employer). Of those who were insured when the bills were incurred, three-quarters (75%) say that the amount they had to pay for their insurance copays, deductibles, or coinsurance was more than they could afford.