Hospital Debt Collection Practices
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Hospital Debt Collection Practices
Many hospitals have a debt collection policy available for patient’s to review. These policies let patients know they are entitled to respect and dignity, and that their bills will not prevent them from receiving emergency medical care. They also acknowledge that patients are expected to contribute to the cost of their medical care based on their ability to do so, and explain the hospitals financial aid options for patients in need. These policies vary from hospital to hospital, but all ensure that patients have a clear understanding of their rights and responsibilities.
In addition to policies concerning the care and treatment of patients, hospitals have also outlined payment and financing options in their policies, as well as whether they extend financial assistance of waived fees to anyone. Many hospitals now offer assistance on a limited basis to patients who need medical care but don’t have insurance coverage and/or can’t afford their portion of the bill.
What to Do If You are Harassed by a Medical Debt Collector
Despite the efforts of some hospitals to treat patients with respect when it comes to medical debt, it is still possible to find yourself harassed by a bill collector looking to capitalize on your health challenges.
In the past, many hospitals, medical care providers, and debt collectors have pursued aggressive practices, including filing debt collection lawsuits against their patents. these efforts were made in spite of the money available to hospitals through financial support programs. And despite a reduction in how frequently aggressive collection efforts occur, it’s still possible to find yourself a victim.
Medical debt collectors are responsible for providing you information about the debt in question and if you believe the debt to be inaccurate, you have a right to dispute it. Collectors are also required to cease phone collections if you send them a written letter directing them to do so. Collection efforts must also stop if you file for bankruptcy.
Third party medical debt collectors are subject to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. These third party collectors are prohibited from harassing you, intimidating you, threatening a lawsuit if they don’t intend on filing one, calling at unreasonable times, or contacting you at work if you ask them to stop doing so.
If you believe hospital debt collection practices have violated these guidelines, you can contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and report the collector. Keep in mind, some violations could affect your debt, so make sure you are keeping a record of the actions taken by debt collectors.
What You Can Do If You Can’t Afford to Pay Your Medical Debt
Hospitals and medical care providers have the right to attempt to collect a debt owed to them, as long as they stay within the legal guidelines for medical debt collection. Unfortunately, this can result in a great deal of stress. Even if a hospital isn’t being aggressive or violating the law, debt collection efforts – especially when you are recovering from an injury or illness – can be emotionally and financially draining.
The good news is you have options. It’s possible to settle medical debt for less than the total amount you owe. Bankruptcy can also be considered as this would likely discharge your entire medical debt. Medical debt is one of the main reasons so many people choose to file for Bankruptcy
Your most important priority needs to be your health and well-being. Nobody should be prevented from recovering because of emotional strife over a debt. Relief is available if you are dealing with hospital debt or other medical bills you are struggling to afford.
If you would like more information on your options concerning medical debt or you want to know more about hospital debt collection practices, contact us at 1.800.220.4318.