Medical Bill was Sent to Collections While I was Making Monthly Payments

by Teresa
(Dallas, TX)

I live in Dallas, Texas and I had a radiology bill sent to collections while I was making monthly payments. I told the representative I had other medical bills I was paying on, in the process of moving to another state b/c I was getting married and my fiance (who is in military) was just relocated- In essence all costing money out of our pockets. The rep stated I had to make a payment plan of 25 dollars or more, and that 10 dollars would not be enough. I told her I could only afford that and would pay more and quicker when other expenses were paid off. She stated they couldn't wait, and would send it to collections. Is that legal?

Comments for Medical Bill was Sent to Collections While I was Making Monthly Payments

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Dec 16, 2015
Medical bill
by: Anonymous

My bill is 5400 and I have been making payments of 600 per month. I am 19 and a college student any suggestions?

Reply from

We're sorry but we don't know what you're asking. At $600 a month you should have the balance paid off in less than a year (depending on interest charged)...If you can clarify your question we'll try to respond.

Sep 22, 2015
Insight Imagining Country Club, Meza AZ
by: Debbie

I have been paying them since May 2014 steadily from my HSA and they turned me over to collections. Can they by law do this?

Reply from

Unfortunately there is generally no law against this. It's not uncommon. Have you tried talking with them? Perhaps they will pull it back from collections if you can increase your payments or find a way to come up with the money to pay it off.

Jul 11, 2015
MI Bronson Hospital
by: Anonymous

same thing here, paying 170 dollars a month, on time each month, no phone call or warning just tiny print on back of bill, could not even read, print so small, "may not stop further collection if making payments." I called, nothing they could do, apparently was to make 245 dollar a month payment.

I'm not psychic, I am so upset, my credit was finally good. Very deceptive and unfair, unreal!!!they didn't even warn me, collection fat envelope just arrived one day.

Reply from

It wouldn't be a bad idea to file a complaint with the CFPB which is looking into medical billing issues and credit reports.

May 11, 2015
fifty six dollars
by: Anonymous

I too had a bill from doctor to required to be paid in full meaning that they didn't accept just what my insurance paid. He wanted it all. Needless to say I do not go to that doctor anymore, but I am paying my bills.

My bill was at one time $280.00 nothing was ever said. Been making monthly payments, now it is down to fifty six dollars, and next think I know I get a letter from a collection agency for fifty nine dollars and four cents which isn't even right.

Than I get a letter from billing for fifty six dollars which is the correct amount. I say there are too many people working on the same account, and they don't know what they are doing. One does this and another person does that. I say and always have to many fingers in the pot, and nobody knows what they are doing.

I'm making payments on four accounts in total,and we are on a budget,with these extra bills I had to refigure the budget. As long as I'mm aking payments,and they are not small payments either,have plans on the three except this one.

I mean really fifty six dollars! I think this was done deliberately. And the other reason I will not return to this doctor is because not only do I get a bill from the doctor, I get a separate bill for the use of there facility, just for a follow up. We didn't ask them to have a building built only to have the patients pay for it. Fancy doesn't make the patients feel better; it just costs the people more money they don't have. That is so wrong,and I'm really angry that they would sent my fifty six dollar medical bill to a collection agency,when I was making monthly payments, and they know that!

Reply from

That does sound extreme. You may want to at least share your experience with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau which is looking into medical billing problems.

Oct 21, 2012
Maybe you need to do some research
by: Anonymous

The above comment suggesting a creditor can send you to collections at any time even while paying is not the case.

Specifically, in regard to medical billing there are state laws that apply when it comes to this process. There is also the newly AHA billings and collections guidelines adopted in may of 2012 that make it clear that the hospital is to address the patients financial needs in a more respectful manner other than saying pay this amount or off to collections you go. The hospital is obligated to clearly offer applications to anyone showing a financial problem. The patient is not the one who needs to ask for this it is the hospital that needs to address this. The hospital is also under the obligation of RESPECTFULLY coordinating payment procedures with the patient BEFORE applying extreme collection measures.

Yes in this situation someone from the hospital told her they would send her to collections but the manner in which the patient suggests it happened doesn't meet the standard. Allegedly someone told the patient... GIVE US this amount of money each month OR ELSE. She expressed a need to go lower and nothing was applied. They then took her money knowing they'd eventually write her off and send her to collections.

The real advice.. Get a good consumer lawyer. Did the hospital at any time during registration etc.. ever address your choices with billing other than give them what they want or they'd destroy your credit.

I can't say this enough when giving advice on medical debt. It's simply not the same type of credit where the consumer is given a choice of service. In a time of health crisis you are handed no alternatives financially. This wasn't an elected bill thought out against your daily budget. The consumer in regard to medical cost is to be treated with utmost respect and listened to very carefully when it comes to what they can afford. Hospitals are funded and covered. If you can honestly prove that 10.00 is all you could afford then chances are that same hospital knows you can get all kinds of cuts in the over all cost and may not even owe a penny or the cut may be so good that a 10.00 payment would pay off the remaining balance in 24 months.

Reply from

Thanks for pointing out the provisions in the Affordable Care Act that do provide some new consumer protections. Those are new protections, and they only apply to patients at nonprofit hospitals, but they should help at least some patients.

With regard to your other comment about state consumer protections in the case of medical bills, we would be very interested in seeing some sources on that. We've done extensive research and spoken with a number of healthcare billing experts but we haven't come across the kinds of protections you are describing. Do let us know if there's a resource we can take a look at and share with our readers!

May 13, 2012
Medical Bill was Sent to Collections While I was Making Monthly Payments

Yes, it is legal. A creditor can send your debt to collections anytime when you owe it money, even if you are paying a little on the debt every month. The issue is that the full amount of your radiology bill was due once you incurred it and therefore, you were not entitled to decide for yourself that you would pay the bill over time as you have been doing.

What you should have done immediately was to contact the radiologist's office to let it know that you wanted to set up a payment plan and if the office agreed to discuss such a plan (It's not obligated to.) you and the office would have tried to reach an understanding about the terms and amount of your monthly payments. Note: Whenever you set up a monthly payment plan with a creditor or with a debt collector, always get the terms of the agreement in writing before you begin paying on the plan.

Now that your debt is in collections, you can try to negotiate a payment plan with the collection agency. If you are unable to come to an agreement with one another, you risk being sued for the money you owe however. Good luck!

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