We had the same problem many years ago. The hospital was trying to double bill and we had to notify the Attorney General. He went after the hospital which had been double billing all vets. It took time but it got straightened out and the hospital paid a big fine to the State of CT.
He needs to get a lawyer. Good Luck, Rick
No, I do not believe that is the issue here. The hospital is not double-billing or anything. Since you asked these questions though, I talked with Fred this week about it and here is what I found out that should answer your questions.
First, the VA did not pick up all of his medical expenses because he did not go to a VA Medical Center when he had is stroke and was in the coma. There is no VA Medical Center with a Trauma Center in Albany and as he needed to go to a hospital with a Trauma Center and the closest one was all the way in Syracuse, NY, he had to be taken somewhere else closer. As it was, he fell into the coma after he made it to the local hospital. If they had tried to take him to the VA Medical Center in Syracuse, he most likely would have died on the way there. But because of this, the VA will only cover 70% of his hospital bill. They will only cover 100% of the bill if he was treated at a VA Medical Center. So, that is why the VA did not pick up the whole tab.
He did have supplemental insurance to cover any expenses not covered by the VA, but the insurance still requires his to pay co-pays of service and pay a certain amount of out-of-pocket expenses before they will cover the rest. This is where Fred got slammed with close to $10,000 in medical bills from the insurance company. Plus, to make things worse, while he was in the hospital for so long, he could not get his mail that was piling up at home. As he has no wife or kids or family who could get into his home and bring him his mail, he did not get the bill for his insurance. So, his insurance ended up lapsing as he didn't pay his premiums on it while he was in the hospital. He has now since paid the premiums and reinstated his insurance and has been fighting with them to make his coverage retroactive to cover his bills from when he was in the hospital, but they have been dragging their feet on it. If they do come through, it could lower his obligations on the hospital bill, but he will still end up with a pretty hefty portion of his overall medical bills to pay. The co-pays on a hospital stay alone are around $50-$150 per day. Follow-up doctors visits are $20 each time (and he was going a couple of times a week, especially just after he got out of the hospital). This all adds up quickly over a year and a half, almost.
I also already addressed why I think the collection agency was able to take his VA Pension - since they are intercepting it directly out of his bank account as they have a hold on his checking account. It is not like the collection agency went to the VA or Social Security and told them that this guy owes us money, so you need to send us his pension checks. If that were the case, then yes, the VA or Social Security would have told the collection agency to pound salt as they cannot be attached by a collection agency like that. However, since all of these pension and benefit payments are paid through direct deposit now and they do not send out a physical check that he can cash, that is how the collection agency is able to intercept his money. He has been trying to get his lawyer to fight it, but it has been a slow progress and most likely by the time it is resolved, he will have paid off what the collection agency says he owes anyways.
This is why I have been trying to help him out. It is a tough situation. He fought hard and was able to make a decent recovery from where he was at over a year ago (although still nowhere near 100% better), but now he needs some help to keep going. Also, to glgrumpy's comments, why should he have to sell off everything he owns and has worked for to pay his medical bills? Would you want to do that if you were in his shoes? Where would he live then if he had to sell his house? What would he do with himself without a shop to work in? This is his life here - he might as well have just died in the coma then if he has to give up everything. And he can't really hire someone to run his shop or hire employees to work for him to try and grow the business so it will take in more money if he doesn't have any money right now to pay them with. The old adage, "it takes money to make money" certainly shows here.
Edited by MailmAn, April 15, 2015 - 08:02 AM.