Medical Bill Question

by Angela
(Terrell, TX USA)

We have been making steady payments on two medical bills from January. The hospital had now decided that they don't like this and is threatening to send the bills to a collection agency if we don't pay in full. The notice just came today and we have less than 5 days. Is the hospital even allowed to do this? What can we do to stop the bills from going to collection?

Comments for Medical Bill Question

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Aug 05, 2010
by: Angela

The hospital sent us forms wanting our entire financial history and access into our checking account. They said if we filled it out, then they would looked over everything to see if we 'qualified' to continue to make payments. I've never heard a hospital asking for such information ever. We told them we were uncomfortable giving that kind of info and access out. They then set all the bills to a third-party collector...but we are still paying the hospital directly, so I'm nut sure if it's even a collection agency at all.

At this point, we are still making payments originally agreed upon. I'm curious if the hospital can legally ask for that info and if not, who do we complain to.

Jun 13, 2010
medical bill going to collections
by: Gerri & Mary

Unfortunately, hospitals typically have the upper hand when they set up payment plans. In other words, they generally don't have to accept whatever you can afford to pay, or to accept sporadic payments. We are not aware of any laws that prevent the hospital from sending the bill to collections if you don't pay, but since we are not attorneys, we certainly can't say there are any. As you know, if it does go to collections it will be a significant negative mark on your credit. So you are right to try to keep it from getting to that point.

We would strongly encourage you to immediately contact the hospital billing department to see if you can't come to an agreement that works. The letter you received may have been a mass mailing that went out to a number of patients, and if you call them you may be able to work something out that lets you keep the account out of collections. If the person you speak with initially won't help, appeal to someone higher up.

We also recommend you check your credit scores now, and keep a copy of that information. If the account does go to collections, it will likely appear on your credit reports and your scores will drop. You'll find our recommended service on our page where we talk about how to dispute credit report errors.

Will you let us know what happens? We'd like to hear whether you are able to work something out to keep this out of collections. You can share your experience using the comments link below.

If the bill does go to collections, make sure you at least read the first chapter of Debt Collection Answers online for free so you'll understand that you have rights that may protect you in dealing with debt collectors.

You may also be interested in the Medical Debt Relief Act - legislation that would require credit reporting agencies to remove medical debts from credit reports 30 days after they've been paid.

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