Home Lost Everything: Nightmare Scenario for disabled mother with disabled son who can't pay for medical coverage

Lost Everything: Nightmare Scenario for disabled mother with disabled son who can't pay for medical coverage

Press Release: July 17, 2017

“After years of struggling with medical debt, things got tragically worse. With one arm that needs immediate surgery, they are evicted from their home of 25 years. While trying to move they are locked out by the realtor. Thieves break in, party for days and steal everything. Then kill her cats.”

Moses Lake, WA - July 15, 2017. Ron Pettell announced today that he has set up a Gofundme campaign to raise Emergency funds for his ex-wife Elizabeth and son Jake. He set a goal of $50,000 to take care of her immediate family needs and medical expenses. Because of circumstances beyond her control, she has lost her health, money and resources. She does everything with one arm, including driving.

“I have no choice. I’ll keep going until I can’t get up anymore.” Elizabeth said to her ex-husband recently in a phone conversation.

Ronald described what they’re experiencing now, “They are struggling to hang on as temperatures reach 101 inside their poorly insulated, $300 per month trailer.” They have no air conditioning. Their windows won’t open. They can’t leave the door open. It’s not safe for Jake to play outside because it’s a bad neighborhood. The users, ex-cons and bikers riding through scare him.

Elizabeth’s story exposes the potential for disaster that many families are facing as they struggle to pay their medical bills. All but those in the highest income brackets are one major medical emergency away from financial difficulties. If that emergency becomes a need for long term care it can lead to financial ruin.

This happened to Elizabeth. This is happening to 20% of working-Age Americans struggling to pay medical bills. Long term care pushes them over the edge. Saving are used to pay premiums, deductibles and other out of pocket expenses. Then credit. Then more credit to pay the interest on the first. The debt keeps climbing until the majority of earnings go to pay minimum interest payments. Insurance eventually becomes too expensive. Then additional medical bills start piling up. Not every bill can be paid. The collectors start calling. Followed by the inevitable judgments and liens. Vehicles are repossessed. All of the workarounds and rescheduling of mortgage debt isn’t enough, foreclosure begins on the house. Then eviction.

A family can work hard, be responsible and still end up homeless and destitute. Inability to pay medical bills is the number one cause. Read the studies.

“New Kaiser/New York Times Survey Finds One in Five Working-Age Americans With Health Insurance Report Problems Paying Medical Bills”
Jan 05, 2016
Among the Insured with Medical Bill Problems, 63% Report Using Up Most or All Their Savings and 42% Took on an Extra Job or Worked More Hours

People with insurance who face problem medical bills also report a wide range of consequences and sacrifices during the past year as a result, including delaying vacations or major household purchases (77%), spending less on food, clothing and basic household items (75%), using up most or all their savings (63%), taking an extra job or working more hours (42%), increasing their credit card debt (38%), borrowing money from family or friends (37%), changing their living situation (14%), and seeking the aid of a charity (11%). These shares generally are as large as or larger than the shares among uninsured people with problem medical bills.

Overall, 62 percent of those who had medical bill problems say the bills were incurred by someone who had health coverage at the time (most often through an employer). Of those who were insured when the bills were incurred, three-quarters (75%) say that the amount they had to pay for their insurance copays, deductibles, or coinsurance was more than they could afford.


“Medical Debt Is Top Reason Consumers Hear From Collection Agencies”
January 24, 201710:36 AM ET

Medical debt is the most common reason for collection calls, a federal study found.
More people have health insurance than ever before, but many still struggle to pay for care.

A recently released report says medical debt is the No. 1 reason consumers reported being contacted by a collection agency. If efforts to overhaul the Affordable Care Act result in more people losing their coverage, those numbers could rise.

The study by the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that 59 percent of people who reported they had been contacted by a debt collector said it was for medical services.

Unlike other types of debt, people with medical debt were prevalent across a range of income levels, credit scores and ages. A poll conducted in 2015 by NPR, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that many people with health insurance still struggle to pay medical bills. Some 26 percent said health care expenses have taken a serious toll on family finances.


“Bond Girl Lana Wood on surviving homelessness: My life was 'rapidly falling apart'”
By Stephanie Nolasco Published July 12, 2017 Fox New

Former Bond Girl Lana Wood is in a better place these days since news broke in April she was homeless. Her friend Gregor Gillespie set up a GoFundMe page in the hopes of raising funds for the star.
Inside Edition reported earlier this year that the younger sister of Natalie Wood was staying in a motel room outside of Los Angeles with her daughter Evan, her son-in-law, three grandchildren, and two dogs while struggling to make ends meet.

"It’s difficult [relocating] under good circumstances. So under really rotten ones, it’s not really terrific…. I have basically fought all of my life to take care and to provide a home for my daughter, for myself, for my family.”

But Wood said the family’s growing medical bills were to blame for their financial woes. Inside Edition reported Evan battled Hodgkin’s lymphoma and her radiation treatments permanently scarred her lungs, resulting in her breathing through an oxygen compressor.

The family struggled to pay for their rented home in California and they were ultimately evicted. They scrambled to find a motel that would allow the family to stay with their pets.

“I realized [I was in trouble] for quite a while, but it seemed like we were able to bail out,” Wood explained.

“...We had more health problems than expected -- not that you ever expect them.”

Wood and her family have since left the motel and are living in “an adorable little place.” She credited donations from the GoFundMe campaign for giving her family a new start.

“Oh goodness, if I wasn’t able to touch [that money], I wouldn’t have electricity, water, or a roof over my head,” she said. We’re still coming to terms with everything, so we’re not pulled together by any stretch of the imagination, but we’re trying. I’m trying very hard to make it a home.”


You can get the full story at Elizabeth and Jake’s GoFundMe Campaign here:
“A New Arm for Jake’s Mom”


Press Contact:
• Ronald Pettell (Ex-Husband and Account Manager)
• Phone: Email to make arrangements for phone interviews
• email: BJ90214@gmail.com

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