- From 2000 until 2005, I accumulated about $200,000 USD in medical debt to 4 hospitals in 3 states. I can't even count the number of physicians who were involved.
- Initially, things went ok with billing and insurance. Later, insurance pre-approved some expensive stuff. The doctors required this pre-approval.
- After the procedures, insurance reneged. I fought, but eventually I just gave-up. The doctors started sending me all the bills.
- I applied for "financial hardship", but got very little relief. Probably, the best relief happened when I went to billing at NW Memorial Hospital. I started talking to a manager about the 1985 Chicago Bears for about 30-minutes. We had a great time. So, she told me to just keep my $2400 and she'd "take care of" that particular delinquent bill. I'm not making that up!
- Around 2010, I stopped getting calls from debt collectors.
- In 2010 I moved to a new city. I still have around $5k in medical bills per year, and I am paying them on time, no problem.
I just looked through all the bills / insurance / receipts paperwork from 2000-2005. It takes-up four 3 ring binders. It is hopeless to figure-out who I paid what to. I am ready to shred it all and move-on with my life. In fact, I'm moving to Japan and plan to work there for a very, very, long time.
Before I leave, I want some idea about the status of that unpaid medical debt.
I've not heard from bill collectors for several years, so is it forgiven?
If I shred it and bolt for Japan, then what happens to that debt?
If/when I go back to the US, will that debt be hanging around my neck?
Please, give me some tips on where to start to understand this.