My question involves collection proceedings in the State of: Illinois
3 years ago I was hospitalized following an overdose of prescription pills. I was very ill and needed help. I had no insurance and my father fronted the bill. A month later I was admitted again to a different inpatient facility and was informed that a government program called CHIPS would pay for all my medical bills. The officials came in my room, asked me all the questions, and filled out the forms for me. They instructed me that it would take months for the program to kick in and that in the meantime I would still receive bills from the hospital. THEY TOLD ME TO IGNORE THESE BILLS!! So I did. Eventually the bills stopped so I had assumed CHIPS had kicked in and that it had been taken care of. A year later I started receiving letters from a collection agency who would taken over the bill.
Now, I will admit that I did not call after the first letter, but after I received a couple letters from the collection agency I called and asked why this bill had gone to them and what I needed to do about it. The lady, ever so rudely, informed me that in order for CHIPS to pay for the bill I had to first be denied from medicaid. She told me that I WAS denied, but for lack of information which apparently didn't count. So I asked what I was supposed to do and she told me it would be late for me to contact public aid to give them the information that had been missing from the original forms. I NEVER received anything from public aid stating that they needed more information. No letter, no phone call, NOTHING. So how was I to know that I needed to provide them with more information??
So it has almost been 3 years now (I know I was admitted right before Halloween), and this $9,334.53 bill is still sitting in collections and they have now sent me a letter stating they are doing an asset search for recommendation of legal action. They do not want to work with me and will only accept a payment in full (as they have always stated). Now I don't know ANYONE who just has that kind of money sitting around, and I most certainly DO NOT! I have been living paycheck to paycheck for the past 3 years and am currently a stay at home mother to my 2.5 month old. I don't know what to do. CHIPS is no longer in effect due to the state budget cuts, and I have no way to pay for this. I am so scared for my family and I'm just at a loss. I'm embarrassed to ask for help from my family. I am in desperate need of advice/help. Is there anything that I can do to get this to go away besides paying the agency??