Talk About Marriage banner

Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
152 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Has anyone ever been to one of these? I see them advertised all the time, but have never considered them because they always advertise for car loan/mortgage/credit card debt.

I am about 63K in the hole. 33k in student loans and 30k in ER bills (I get horrible head aches and one day on campus when I has having a very bad head ache I passed out completely and was out of it for about half an hour and then when I came too I was not very responsive. This has happened before and there really isn't anything that can be done about it, but since the college had no idea and did what anyone would do called an ambulance and I was rushed to the ER, where they did CAT scans and MRI's....hence I now owe about 30k. in medical bills)

I try to pay a little here or there--I try to pay at least $50 a month sometimes more when I can.

But if anyone has been to these debt counseling services and have experience with them, would they work for me? Do they only work with certain types of debt? Or are they just another scam?
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,733 Posts
God DAMN Sailorgirl, but when it rains it pours. No wonder your exit strategy is hard to formulate!

I have not used the debt counseling service. I was about to before I picked up the book Total Money Makeover. They may work for cc debt as they are often able to negotiate a lower amount to settle the debt. I doubt that student loans or er debt will do that. Once you DO do that, your credit is pretty hosed... but hosed more than if you are defaulted? Maybe not.

The big thing for ME, and it does not really sound like the same for you, is that using a service such as this treats only the symptom (debt) and not the disease, MY SPENDING HABITS.

You may want to try reading Total Money Makeover just the same. It has a simple plan for getting out of debt. It has good advice about money, in general. But NOT if you buy the USAin must buy with credit popular thought process.

Sounds like your mental plate is full. Good luck! ANd I hope those headaches cease and desist!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
152 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
God DAMN Sailorgirl, but when it rains it pours. No wonder your exit strategy is hard to formulate!

I have not used the debt counseling service. I was about to before I picked up the book Total Money Makeover. They may work for cc debt as they are often able to negotiate a lower amount to settle the debt. I doubt that student loans or er debt will do that. Once you DO do that, your credit is pretty hosed... but hosed more than if you are defaulted? Maybe not.

The big thing for ME, and it does not really sound like the same for you, is that using a service such as this treats only the symptom (debt) and not the disease, MY SPENDING HABITS.

You may want to try reading Total Money Makeover just the same. It has a simple plan for getting out of debt. It has good advice about money, in general. But NOT if you buy the USAin must buy with credit popular thought process.

Sounds like your mental plate is full. Good luck! ANd I hope those headaches cease and desist!
The headaches, mostly migraines, I have had all my life and will probably have them always. I have only passed out 3 times with them. Once as a child, the second time when I was about 19 and then the last time was at the college. This first time my parents rushed me to the ER. The second time I did not go. The last time of course the college sent me. I don't blame them. OF course the doctors want me in the ER anytime it happens, but I have no health insurance so if I go it cost me huge amounts. The doctors thinks that since migraines are caused by pressure on the wall of the blood vessel in the brain that may be why I have passed out in the past from migraines, but they don't really know. In fact they are not really sure what causes migraines.

I'm fairly certain that ER will negotiate a lower amount. The student loans not so much. I have about half of it in deferment, but half of my student loans I did not do the deferment paperwork correctly and it went into collections so I am making payments on it. They want me to pay $150 a month but I can not do that. They threaten to hold cancel my license to teach, but so far have not done so and I'm hoping that they will not. That is my main concern, and what I want to negotiate for.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
I have had various experiences helping people talk to creditors.

The debt counseling if done by certain legitimate (normally non-profit) services will actually take all of your information and tell you what they can consolidate. Certain government loans (a lot of the student debt) and places like SEARS store credit card demand full payment (a few others but it has been awhile). Most other unsecured debt (credit cards, hospital bills, etc.) will negotiate a better payment plan and rate. THIS WILL AFFECT YOUR CREDIT RATING. Not as bad as a bankruptcy (or as long lasting). It depends a lot on how many creditors you have and will they work with the service.

The debt reduction services normally done by local Law Offices can work. They want you to pay money to them every month and then when there is enough money on hand they try to negotiate with your creditors to take a smaller amount owed. Of course they normally charge you 25% of the savings or more. The other downside is they don’t make payments to your creditors. This means interest and fees build up. They only send a letter to close the account and stop the collection calls by directing them to the law office. I have had several people that worked for me in the military go this route to avoid a full bankruptcy which would hurt their clearance. It can work but again makes bad marks on your credit history. The upside is they normally go away in 1-2 years. It depends on how much you trust the local office…..Here is a bad example….


Little Lawyer Brings Down Capoccia And Debt Reduction Operation - News 10 WTEN: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
152 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I have no credit card debt. I have never once had a credit card and never wanted one.

All of my debt is medical and student loans.

I can not make the $400-$500 payment every month that the student loans and hospitals want. I can make maybe between $100-$150 every month until I get a secure full time job. This is my problem. I only make between $80-$150 a week at best right now. It's very frustrating.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,733 Posts
Call them up and tell them what you can pay. I would bet a dollar that they will take what they can get in regular payments to avoid default.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
I have no credit card debt. I have never once had a credit card and never wanted one.

All of my debt is medical and student loans.

I can not make the $400-$500 payment every month that the student loans and hospitals want. I can make maybe between $100-$150 every month until I get a secure full time job. This is my problem. I only make between $80-$150 a week at best right now. It's very frustrating.
The advantage of the debt counseling is they will consider what you can pay and then contact the people you owe money to try and match it. They will want all household expenses and they will sit down with you to make a budget.

They will work to reduce the interest rates and get penalties removed to help further.

If you alone call and offer your creditors money most places will keep charging you fees and boost the interest rates to the default highest values.

I don't know were you are at so I can not recommend any of the local services. The ones I worked with did it for free. They also of course have you sign a payment agreement that lasts for several years and prefer some kind of direct deductions.

I recommend them in this case.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,422 Posts
If all else fails, get a CC, cycle through different CCs, and once you get a $500k debt (if you even get that far, furthest I've personally seen was $200k), then file for bankruptcy lol - that's what the old man did, which I find rather hilarious. Don't know if CC policies have changed however :D

Ne ways... Sailorgirl, what country are you in? They charged you 30k for ER?!??!?! Don't you have something like medicare there? Or health insurance?

And at least here in Australia student loans tend to be held off until full-time work is available for the graduate =/
(If you are a citizen that is), that's rather shocking they expect everything to paid back while you are still looking for work.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
152 Posts
Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
If all else fails, get a CC, cycle through different CCs, and once you get a $500k debt (if you even get that far, furthest I've personally seen was $200k), then file for bankruptcy lol - that's what the old man did, which I find rather hilarious. Don't know if CC policies have changed however :D

Ne ways... Sailorgirl, what country are you in? They charged you 30k for ER?!??!?! Don't you have something like medicare there? Or health insurance?

And at least here in Australia student loans tend to be held off until full-time work is available for the graduate =/
(If you are a citizen that is), that's rather shocking they expect everything to paid back while you are still looking for work.
I'm in america, and we can not do bankruptcy on student loans. The ER bill yes, but not the student loans.

The on trip to the ER was expensive with the ambulance ride, the CAT scan and the MRI to rule out aneurysm in the brain, the blood test to rule out meningitis. Spinal tap--don't know why they did that, lots of meds and they kept me over night.

I have no health insurance and do not qualify for medicade/medicare.

I thought I had most of my student loans in deferment. I thought it was a 2 year deferment. It was not. I did not realize that they came out of deferment last April.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
A few things you need to know about debt consolidation

Under the law, it’s mandatory to undergo a credit counseling course and provide proof of completion in order to file bankruptcy, but in addition to providing education to help people manage their finances better, credit counselors can also negotiate with unsecured creditors on behalf of debtors who wish to avoid bankruptcy.

There are many credit counseling services advertised on television and in magazines and newspapers, but they charge large upfront fees for their services. Consumer Credit Counseling Services (CCCS) offers help for very little cost, usually about $15.00 per month.

One of the services that they offer is debt consolidation. This applies only to unsecured debt (like credit cards and student loans), not to debts backed by collateral, like a home mortgage or auto loan. A counselor will go over your bills and help you figure out a budget to determine how much you can afford to pay, then he’ll contact the creditors to negotiate lower payments to fit that budget. Unsecured creditors are often willing to make concessions to CCCS as a means of preventing the debtor from filing bankruptcy, which is often presented by the CCCS counselor as the next step unless the creditor agrees to help.

Using a service like CCCS may have a negative impact on your credit score and potential to obtain credit, as many creditors report the involvement of CCCS to the credit reporting bureaus. Future creditors may see the use of a debt consolidation service as a lack of discipline or a sign of trouble. On the other hand, it’s viewed more favorably than filing bankruptcy and shows a willingness by the debtor to honor financial obligations even under difficult circumstances.

The official position by the credit bureaus is somewhat murky. Fair Isaac (FICO–the company that created the widely used formula for determining credit scores) explains on their website at Free FICO Credit Score + Check Your Credit Report Online | myFICO “Using a credit counseling service and having this situation reported in your credit report should not have any negative impact to your FICO® score.” Of course, should not isn’t as comforting as will not, so proceed with caution.

Whether or not to use a service like CCCS is a very personal decision that has to be measured on a case by case basis.

If you don’t have mortgage or car payments (or you can afford them) but are not able to afford your payments on credit cards and other unsecured loans, then CCCS may be a good alternative to bankruptcy. The damage to your credit won’t be as long term as what a bankruptcy would cause and before long you can be back on your way to rebuilding your credit.

In addition to debt consolidation, CCCS also offers assistance with budgeting, balancing a checking account and other basic personal finance matters.

Avoid the debt relief services that advertise on TV, radio, magazines and newspapers. It makes no sense to pay hundreds, even thousands of dollars, that could be used instead to pay down your debts. As a well known non-profit agency, CCCS also carries more respect in the credit industry, which may help them negotiate more favorable re-payment terms with your creditors.

To find the CCCS office in your city, check your phone directory or search in Google for “CCCS” and the name of your city.
sailorgirl, I normally don't advise this, but I strongly suggest that you consider filing bankruptcy (chapter 7) to get a fresh start. Unless you become rich those medical bills will cripple you for the rest of your life. Credit card debt can get out of control when people are careless, but medical bills are something beyond people's control. Good luck.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,422 Posts
Well, if you want to go for bankruptcy, I suggest doing what my old man did, try not to make it too obvious however lol
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
152 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Well, if you want to go for bankruptcy, I suggest doing what my old man did, try not to make it too obvious however lol
Sorry I reread my post and meant to say that we can NOT file bankruptcy on student loans. I realize that I typed you can file for bankruptcy on student loans. Just went back and fixed it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
879 Posts
Have you tried to contact the hospital about the bills? They often have programs for people who are unable to pay. My husband had a biking accident back when we were uninsured. Because we applied to their program our entire bill was forgiven. The Doctors send their bills separately, so after receiving that we wrote him a personal letter and he reduced that bill to only $100.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,052 Posts
Hospitals do have programs for those unable to pay high hospital bills. They will consider income, etc., and they will "forgive" the debt, if necessary. My son had $30K in hospital bills and got all of them covered by a charity that worked with the hospital as he was uninsured also and low income.

As far as student loans, you're stuck there. You cannot forgive student loans in a bankruptcy, nor will an accredited CCCS take them over as they are considered a "federal debt." Works the same way if you owe the IRS, you cannot work that debt into a bankruptcy either.

Have you looked at refinancing you students loans to a cheaper interest rate? This might help.

If you have any other debt (credit card, installment loans, etc.), several years back I worked with Money Management International, an accredited CCCS agency. They charge a $25 administrative monthly fee, but it can be waived if your situation warrants. They were a lifesaver and got me out of debt when I needed them.

Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,174 Posts
Has anyone ever been to one of these? I see them advertised all the time, but have never considered them because they always advertise for car loan/mortgage/credit card debt.

I am about 63K in the hole. 33k in student loans and 30k in ER bills (I get horrible head aches and one day on campus when I has having a very bad head ache I passed out completely and was out of it for about half an hour and then when I came too I was not very responsive. This has happened before and there really isn't anything that can be done about it, but since the college had no idea and did what anyone would do called an ambulance and I was rushed to the ER, where they did CAT scans and MRI's....hence I now owe about 30k. in medical bills)

I try to pay a little here or there--I try to pay at least $50 a month sometimes more when I can.

But if anyone has been to these debt counseling services and have experience with them, would they work for me? Do they only work with certain types of debt? Or are they just another scam?
I had EXCELLENT success applying for financial relief to the hospital where I had an ER bill from my allergic anaphylaxis. They completely wrote off my bill, the outstanding amount was a little over $4K.

For student loans, if you have not already consolidated you could look into that, and also see about being on an income-sensitive repayment plan, that is you pay only a certain percentage of your income.

Were you a student at the time you went into the hospital? I know that I pay as a student a student health fee for student insurance, it's a plan that is supposed to pay for health care while a student. You should see if perhaps you were covered by a student health plan, and then give that information to the hospital so they can work it out in terms of billing/reimbursement.

For student loans, unfortunately those are going to stick with you.

I recommend really paring down your lifestyle. Learn how to live on about 2/3 of your income, get a safety net of a few months living expenses and then start putting all extra money to debt. If you studied something that was your heart's desire, remind yourself how the student loan debt enriched your life, and how different it is now that you have your degree. If you rent think about moving into a co-housing situation so that you can really minimize your expenses.

Are you employed? If not, you might want to see to that. Having a stable income is #1 in debt reduction! There is always Americorps for a year if you are into public service. They will give you a chunk of change at the end of your service towards your loans, and a housing allowance and health benefits.

If you aren't making a whole lot, think about earned income credit advance payments, also apply for public relief. Even food stamps are going to take $100 or so out of your expenses, and you can put that towards debt.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
14 Posts
Seems like there's a lot of good information here. I've often wondered about the wisdom of debt consolidation loans as well. So, it was helpful to read through this. Out of curiosity, because I work for Focus on the Family, I did a search on their website and they had some information on this topic as well. Not sure if it would be helpful or not, but you might be interested in their take here and here. I've also heard a lot of great feedback on an organization called Crown Financial that provides free budgeting material and advice on reducing debt. Maybe they'd have some information to offer you on this subject? Well, I hope you're able to get your finances under control. I know how stressful debt can be!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,278 Posts
Call them up and tell them what you can pay. I would bet a dollar that they will take what they can get in regular payments to avoid default.
:iagree:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,278 Posts
Sailorgirl,

I would stay away from the debt service right now.

Work the medical bill option first. Contact the medically biller and talk to them. Let them know your income level, etc.
Keep on them, get them to write off the amount you owe. They do it all the time for low income people.

On the student loans, I would contact the office that handles this.
See if they can redo your payments, get lower payments, etc. Don't use a private for profit company for this.
Go directly to the goverment office that handles this.

Student loans is the next debt time bomb that is going to expode in the coming years.
The total student loan debt is well over a trillion dollars and everyone in Washington is worried about it.
Obama has policies in place to help address it. Like lower interest rates, etc. Contact the office.
:iagree:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,329 Posts
I'm in america,

The on trip to the ER was expensive with the ambulance ride, the CAT scan and the MRI to rule out aneurysm in the brain, the blood test to rule out meningitis. Spinal tap--don't know why they did that, lots of meds and they kept me over night.

I have no health insurance and do not qualify for medicade/medicare.
Welcome to the good ol' US of A, with it's wonderfully fuc*ed up healthcare system. :slap:
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top