From Hospital To Jail: Debtors Face Growing Arrest Threat

LAW 360 — The knock came just four days after Steven Krueger got out of the hospital. He was recovering from back surgery in his home in Idaho Falls when sheriff’s deputies arrived with a warrant to bring him to the courthouse.
Steve was in a back brace and wasn’t supposed to travel, except to the doctor.

“I just kind of stood there stunned,” says Mari Krueger, Steve’s wife. “I was just horrified … I was almost hysterical.”

Mari wasn’t stunned by Steve’s arrest simply because of his condition. She was also shocked because he wasn’t accused of committing a crime. What he was accused of was failing to pay his medical bills.

Thanks to rising medical costs and an increase in insurance deductibles, Steve has plenty of company. More than one in four Americans say they have had trouble paying a recent medical bill, and 82% of workers with employer-provided health insurance now have to meet an annual deductible, up from 63% 10 years ago, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

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