The Hospital Turned Me Over to Collections. Can They Do That?

I recently had procedure at hospital. Insurance paid their part. I have my part to three different people. I tried making arrangements with hospital of $100/month – they said that’s not enough for it to be paid in 6 months. I said what’s the deal with 6 months? She replied that if I don’t have them paid in full in 6 months I will get turned over to collections. Can that actually be done if i am trying? And if they are going to turn me into collection then why try? Might as well pay other ones off and not even try? I am confused on this must be damn NOBAMA CARE CRAP!???

Reply from DebtCollectionAnswers

It’s a common myth that if you are paying a hospital provider what you can afford they can’t turn you over to collections. Unfortunately, that’s simply not true. Despite the perception otherwise, hospitals are businesses and they aren’t required to extend financing to customers (patients) who can’t pay the bill in full. Having said that, there may be some options here you haven’t explored:

Request a copy of their financial assistance/charity care policy to see if you may qualify. If you haven’t yet applied for it, do so.

Ask for an itemized copy of your bill and go over it line by line to make sure you weren’t overcharged. Billing errors in favor of the hospital are not uncommon.

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Total ALL your medical debt – not just this bill – and divide it by the total you can afford to pay each month on all of them. If you can’t afford to pay all of it off in three years or less that may be a sign that you need to talk with a bankruptcy attorney.

Consider using a credit card or personal loan to pay the bill, then pay that off over time. It will cost you more due to interest, but it will keep a collection account off your credit reports.

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Sometimes it does make sense to let medical debts go to collections if the provider is unwilling to negotiate, because the collection agency may be willing to negotiate. However, a bill in collection will damage your credit and there is always the risk you could be sued.

By the way, these kinds of billing problems predate the Affordable Care Act. The ACA contains the first provision designed to help protect patients from unfair collection tactics. Under the ACA, non-profit hospitals must make their financial assistance policy available to patients, screen them for those programs, and limit the amount charged for emergency and medically necessary care for those eligible or risk losing their tax-exempt status.

This article is courtesy of DebtCollectionAnswers.com which offers a free ebook, Debt Collection Answers: How to Use Debt Collection Laws to Protect Your Rights.

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