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I’m visiting from UK.
Yesterday I had a ruptured ovarian cyst and had no choice but to go to hospital, after some treatment and exams they let me go.
They have my name, address, phone number in UK but I’m wondering how they are able to make me pay?

I’m not saying I don’t want to pay because I think I should, nurses and doctors should be paid for what they do, it’s just that I can’t really afford it right now.

I should have got holiday travel insurance but of course I didn’t think anything would happen to me.

They let me walk out, so how do they assure that I will come back and pay, can they find me in England and destroy my credit?

4 Thoughts on What happens to me if as a tourist I don’t pay my hospital bill in the US?
  1. Reply
    ibu guru
    August 5, 2011 at 4:46 am

    They can go to your consulate and have them track you down and make you pay your bill. Or have your consulate advance funds on your behalf and let your government rip a chunk out of your hide to reimburse your govt, plus fees and interest. Or put out a fraud alert for non-payment, and have Interpol on your behind, in addition to immigration officials. They do have tools available to them to ensure you pay promptly.

    You should have given them your credit card and signed a payment plan schedule to bill your credit card monthly installments before you left the hospital. Too late now. You owe in full and will be charged interest and/or monthly fees for late payment if it is not paid in full within 30 days of hospitalization.

    No excuses about “no money” accepted. You can afford the vast luxury of international travel, and you are responsible for paying your bills. Use your credit card, eliminate all other expenses, have your bank wire you money, ask your family members for an emergency loan… You do absolutely everything to get that bill paid in full urgently! It is entirely possible for you to end up in the most humongous amount of trouble for failure to pay your bills. This goes anytime you are in any foreign country whatsoever.

    BTW, if you were in the US on business, ask your employer to pay the bill – or at least front the money. If they got you a business visa, they can be held liable as well as you personally, so ask them for help.

  2. Reply
    Reoriented
    August 5, 2011 at 5:28 am

    I’ve no experience with international collections so can’t answer fully.

    If you gave them an address they will bill you. If you don’t pay your bill, internal and then external collectors will bother you to pay. If you are indigent, try to get the hospital to write it off before you go to the collectors.

    If you tell them you will pay 40 or 50/month of the balance even if it would take 40 years to pay them off, that would help.

    Was it a public or private hospital? For profit or nont-for profit? They have different write-off policies, but they all use collectors.

  3. Reply
    mbrcatz
    August 5, 2011 at 6:05 am

    Yes, they can find you in England and destroy your credit, if you don’t ever pay them back. And rightly so – a debt is a debt, no matter where you incur it.

    But that only happens if you ignore all the letters and bills, and don’t try to work with them. You’ll have months and months before that happens – plenty of time to work out a payment plan. Be sure to get your bill repriced down to a cash price, before working out that payment plan.

  4. Reply
    Tagboy
    August 5, 2011 at 6:18 am

    Can’t find the right answer but if you want to pay send them $ 25-50 a month and if they don’t accept it you may be absolved of it. Send them 10 bucks whatever you can afford.

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