I have a friend who opted out of health insurance in the spring of 2009. She felt that she couldn't afford the amount taken out of her pay check each pay day.
A couple months later she got bitten by a brown recluse spider. She ended up having to be admitted to a local private hospital for a couple weeks. She had to have surgery; three times I think.
When all her bills were tabulated, she owed more than $25,000.
But her social workers at the private hospital connected her with the billing department. The billing department looked at her finances. They were happy to get what she could afford each month, which was $40.
My friend paid each month the $40 she agreed to pay.
She got a letter from the private hospital last week telling her that she had paid them $280 by that point. The letter went on to say that they looked over her financial records and were deeming that she had now paid the bill in full.
She owed them no more money.
Her balance was $0.00.
And the government did not even get involved.