Barbara Kingsbury was diagnosed with cervical cancer two years ago and embarked on an aggressive course of treatment. The bills piled up on the kitchen counter of her home in Volin, S.D., at one point hitting $94,000 in unpaid fees and interest. With debt collectors threatening a lawsuit, her husband, Dennis Kingsbury, emptied her retirement savings in early May to pay most of the amount due.
Bill collectors continued calling Ms. Kingsbury when she entered hospice care in early June, her husband said. She died on June 10, at age 62. In July, Mr. Kinsgbury received another hospital bill for $10,000.