Medical Bills

by Renee
(Beech Grove, IN,USA)

In Indiana, can a bill collector keep you on their records over 7 yrs? My husband had a bill I just found out about today from 12/10/2000 and today is 2/2/2010 and I was told that they are still going to make him pay it and I am attached to the bill because I am his wife. The bill is for our daughter and we didn't even know the bill existed. It is from a Surgery Center and the insurance co we had back then doesn't exist so I can't prove anything. Can they do this?

Comments for Medical Bills

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Feb 23, 2010
medical debt collection
by: Gerri and Mary

Thank you for for submitting your question about debt collection on medical bills on our Q&A page. It sounds like you have two questions here. The first one is whether the collector can still try to collect a medical bill that is more than ten years old. That is a matter of state law, and depends on the statute of limitations for that debt. According to my sources, the statute of limitations for most types of debts in Indiana is six years. If the statute of limitations on this debt have indeed expired, then there would not be much the collector could do to force you to pay this debt. If the collector took you to court to collect, you could show up and tell the judge that the debt is too old, and the collector would lose the case.

I highly doubt they can force you to pay this debt after all those years. However, in some states there is a different statute of limitations for medical debts, and in a few states collectors can come after property to collect on a medical debt, so I would strongly recommend you talk with a consumer law attorney to make sure you understand the laws that apply in this situation. You can either contact a local consumer law attorney with experience in debt collection cases, or call the Collection Complaint Hotline at 888-711-5183 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              888-711-5183      end_of_the_skype_highlighting for a free, confidential consultation with an attorney in your state.

It sounds like you may also be wondering whether the collector can report this debt on your credit reports. In no case should this debt now appear as a collection account on your credit report at this late date. Collection accounts may only be reported for seven and a half years from the date you first fell behind with the original creditor. This debt is far too old for that.

I would suggest you get copies of your credit reports from to make sure this collection account is not listed. If it is, dispute it in writing immediately, keeping copies of your correspondence (or print a copy of any online dispute) for your records.

I would also recommend you at least read the first chapter of Debt Collection Answers online for free so you understand your rights when you are dealing with this debt collector. The collection agency must follow the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a federal law, when trying to collect from you.

Please do let us know what happens with this debt.

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