Medical Debt Collection
April 21, 2022
The scenario is repeated all the time. You need surgery, you have insurance, you make sure the surgeon and hospital are in your insurance network, and despite your efforts you start getting collection calls and letters saying you owe hundreds or thousands of dollars for your medical care that is not covered by your insurance. This debt then ends up on your credit report and can prevent you from getting a loan to buy a car or a house and may even keep you from getting a job.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) estimates that consumers have $88 Billion in medical debt appearing on their credit reports. The CFPB receives thousands of complaints every year about debt collectors attempting to collect medical debts. The most common complaints include that the debt is already paid, the debt is not owed, or the debt collector won't give enough information so the consumer can't figure out if it is their debt or not.
Paul Catalano of Humphreys Wallace Humphreys recommends that when communicating with a medical debt collector (whether asking for more information or disputing the debt) you should:
1) Do it in writing.
2) Track the delivery of your dispute or request.
3) Do not agree to pay unless you have confirmation that it is your debt in writing.
You have rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act when the debt collectors start calling. You have rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act when past due medical bills start showing up on your credit. You may have rights under either the Affordable Care Act or ERISA depending on whether you purchased health insurance from the marketplace or were provided insurance as an employment benefit when your insurer denies coverage of your claim. As of January 1, 2022, you have rights under the No Surprises Act when you get billed for out-of-network care when your care was at an in-network facility.
More information about the report can be found at the link: