Statute of limitations

by Debbie

My doctor just sent me an invoice from 11/2010 in 02/2012. I am insolvent and don't see this doctor anymore. Do I have to pay this doctor as it's a ridiculous amount of time to send a bill since the visit occurred.

Comments for Statute of limitations

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Mar 01, 2012
Statute of limitations


I agree that it's been a long time, but typically you are obligated to pay your medical bills at the time of service unless your provider agrees to file for reimbursement for its services by your insurance company and to bill you for any outstanding balance. That said, the debt is yours to pay and if you don't pay it in full or work out a payment plan with the doctor, he/she will probably turn it over to a collection agency eventually and you may even be sued for the money.

If you are truly insolvent -- you have no resources or money you can use to pay your debts and expenses -- then being sued may not be a concern given that even if the doctor wins a money judgment against you he/she won't be able to collect it. You should know however, that judgments do not disappear right away and so if your situation changes and you begin earning an income, putting money in the bank, acquiring assets, etc. the doctor may be able to collect on the judgment at that point.

As for the statute of limitations on a debt, that is the period of time after a debt first becomes past due that you can be sued for the money. Once the statute of limitations on a debt expires, the creditor to whom you owe the money can continue trying to collect from you, but can no longer sue you.

The length of a statute of limitation varies depending in the type of debt and the state where the debt was acquired. If you are not sure when the statute of limitations on your medical debt began and when it will end, talk to a consumer law attorney in your area who helps consumers with debt collection problems.

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