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Who's responsible for medical bills?


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I recently had to go to a doctor (who uses a sliding scale for payment) for an ongoing problem. Unfortunately, I am unemployed (drawing a little unemployment) and have no insurance. The doctor's office knows this (intake information,) but is insisting on including my live-in boyfriend's income to determine the level of payment. As we are not married, how can he be responsible for my bills? I don't mind paying a fair share, but if I had known they would count his income, I would have just continued without treatment. We live in Alabama.

Any advice?

Thanks

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I recently had to go to a doctor (who uses a sliding scale for payment) for an ongoing problem. Unfortunately, I am unemployed (drawing a little unemployment) and have no insurance. The doctor's office knows this (intake information,) but is insisting on including my live-in boyfriend's income to determine the level of payment. As we are not married, how can he be responsible for my bills? I don't mind paying a fair share, but if I had known they would count his income, I would have just continued without treatment. We live in Alabama.

Any advice?

Thanks

Well that doesn't sound to me like they are holding your b/f responsible for anything. If you fail to pay then they aren't going to come after him because of it unless he signs something to guarantee you'll pay or if you two are legally married.

It sounds like you filled out a form the physician is likely required to make you fill out in order to offer a reduced fee for services. Since you were honest and voluntarily listed the live in boyfriend's income then they are likely obligated to include his income in the "household" income they use to determine your fees.

In my opinion they didn't do anything wrong and they aren't going to come after your b/f if you don't pay. Since evidently you voluntarily listed him on a form questioning you about household income they assume you two share income and expenses.

If you two don't share income and expenses as a household and it's more of a roommate scenario then in then future I'd question whether or not I need to list him on any similar forms/applications.

Basically if you are a single adult of legal age then you are the only one who will be held responsible for your medical bills here.

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Thank you for your response. After reading my post (which I obviously should have before posting,) I failed to ask correctly. I know they can't come after him, but the added income puts me in a bind, as I cannot afford to pay the rate they determined. I know his elegibility for VA benefits does not include my income (which is why we're not married...can't otherwise afford his care,) thus they do not care that we share other expenses. His VA benefits are not enough to cover our bills, much less pay for my care. Because of this, I'm just wondering how this doctor can include his income to determine my fee.

I'm not trying to cheat the doctor from his pay; I just want the amount to reflect what I can truely pay.

Thanks again.

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Thank you for your response. After reading my post (which I obviously should have before posting,) I failed to ask correctly. I know they can't come after him, but the added income puts me in a bind, as I cannot afford to pay the rate they determined. I know his elegibility for VA benefits does not include my income (which is why we're not married...can't otherwise afford his care,) thus they do not care that we share other expenses. His VA benefits are not enough to cover our bills, much less pay for my care. Because of this, I'm just wondering how this doctor can include his income to determine my fee.

I'm not trying to cheat the doctor from his pay; I just want the amount to reflect what I can truely pay.

Thanks again.

I thought that was what you are getting at..but the way your post was worded was a little misleading.

Unfortunately I'm not sure what they legally can and can't do in this situation. I'm assuming you filled out a form and voluntarily listed your b/f and his income on the form. Generally in this situation the physician would then determine your fees based on the income information you provided and you would agree (or NOT agree) to continue on with care based on those fees.

Forgive me if I'm assuming anything but usually when someone inquires about a sliding fee scale it's because they are on a budget and need to know whether or not they can afford care even at the calculated reduced fees. Generally speaking it's not an issue where you would find out after the fact.

If you signed an agreement to continue on with care with fees calculated at that income level I'm not sure how much you can argue. If they surprised you with all of this then it may be a different story.

Lastly, have they sued you or stated they intended to do so? If not then possibly discussing it with them or simply paying what you can afford to pay is sometimes enough to shut them up. Many times they will huff and puff and bluff on these medical bills to try to scare you into paying. Of course paying a little here or there is going to be much more effective if you owe $1,200 compared to $120,000.

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